Understand Your Recovery Capital Scale & Why It's Essential to Your Recovery?

In the book, Coming Clean: Overcoming Addiction without Treatment , Robert Granfield and William Cloud suggest Recovery Capital as ”the volume of internal and external assets that can be brought to bear to initiate and sustain recovery from alcohol and other drug problems.”

Recovery Capital refers to the internal and external resources necessary for an individual to achieve and maintain recovery from substance use disorder. It recognizes that a variety of elements can support or jeopardize one’s recovery; these include social networks, physical, human, cultural and community issues.

In short, Recovery Capital includes all of the resources you have available to use in favor of sustaining fulfillment in a life of long-term recovery.

Recovery capital has four components:

-Physical capital

Physical capital is the most accessible component to rate. Physical capital provides structure and security. Assets such as home, transportation, clothing, and various belongings contribute to your quality of life.

You know from experience that physical belongings are not direct indicators of happiness, so physical capital is more than what you tangibly own. Therefore physical capital also includes nutrition and diet, physical and mental health, and other securities such as family, school or employment.

Your physical capital also includes other securities such as finances, investments, and insurance.

-Human capital

Your human capital comprises of all the skill you have. The skills employers look for when contemplating a new hire. Your skills, resources, and personality traits which aide you in becoming the person you desire to aspire to such as (but not limited too) education, problem-solving skills, language and communication, assertiveness, time management, creativity, self-expression, writing skills, accountability, self-awareness, and empathy.

-Cultural capital

Culture capital includes the values, beliefs, and attitudes which connect you to the support in your community.  The sober support you connect within your town, village, city, and government municipalities indicate your cultural capital score.

What are the organizations, groups, and events you attend regularly?  Do you worship with church groups, participate in 12-step groups, SMART Recovery Refuge Recovery, or other recovery based organizations.

Cultural capital also includes how you support the recovery community in all other groups you belong too such as running, ski, book, arts or crafts clubs.

Do you attend recovery community events, functions, listen to mentors or other influential members of the recovery community speak?


-Social Capital

Social Capital is the number of resources you have based upon social interactions with relationships and your recovery community. All your relationships including family, friends, work, and in the recovery community, Your sober network is especially important regarding your social capital.

Social capital indicates the amount of support you have for recovery and how you interact within these relationships.

Cultural Capital and Social Capital share the concept of making a recovery safe, comfortable, and available for everyone choosing to free themselves from the obsession to use drugs and alcohol. Working towards breaking the barriers to treatment, efforts of reducing stigma, and speaking with language that is not harmful to others struggling with active use, relapse, medicated assisted surgery, or harm reduction. Remember everyone’s pathway to recovery is different.

Recovery Capital is different for everyone and continuously changes at any given time.

Your recovery capital offers you insight as to what areas of your recovery could use some attention and focus.


Lastly, Recovery Capital, will differ from individual to individual and continues to change over time. Recovery Capital builds over time. Once you come to understand the person you are in recovery without drugs or alcohol and know yourself, it is suggested to check your Recovery Capital Scale weekly.


Your Recovery Capital Scale

Your Recovery Capital Scale is rating which allows you to monitor the assets you have working in your favor to maintain your quality of life in recovery during both times of celebration and stress.

Therefore the higher your Recovery Capital score the better your quality of life. On the other hand, the lower your score indicates why you are struggling to stay sober or find happiness in your life in recovery.

This test will be administered by yourself, your recovery coach, clinician, or sponsor on a regular basis to look at how your numbers are progressing or not. Your Recovery Capital Scale reflects the amount of work you are putting into your recovery.

Here is a quick list of sample questions you can ask yourself weekly to check your progress. Answer each question with a 1-5 rating.

On a Scale of 1 to 5:

1. Having a sense of purpose in life is important
to my recovery journey

2.  I am able to concentrate when I need to

3.  I am proud of the community I live in and feel
part of it—sense of belonging

4.  I am actively involved in leisure and sport activities

What your rating means

When you rate these questions with an honest, open mind, you will have a good understanding of the quality of your life in recovery. You will know where you need to focus and put in more work.

Of course, you have more control over components such as nutrition, diet, sleep, exercise, skills, values, and whom you choose to associate with compared to the organizations in your community. However, this does not limit you to only working on areas of your scale which you can easily obtain. Strive to balance your Recovery Capital Scale.

The more you include your social relationships in your recovery the easier it will be to maintain a balanced score and find the fulfillment you seek from your efforts. Residing in a sober living home in Connecticut and recovery coaching greatly improves your recovery capital.

If you or someone you love wants to learn more about how The Lighthouse Sober Living Recovery 365 can help achieve and maintain a fulfilled lifestyle for recovery, please call 203-246-9534.

The Lighthouse A Safe place to THRIVE in early recovery.

John Makohen