Cashing in on Recovery Capital

If you ask anyone who has maintained long-term recovery, they will tell you it takes more than just quitting and going to meetings. It takes a tool-box full of tools to support your life and help you manage the things that make you want to drink or use in the first place.  And, it takes action. You can’t just think or read yourself sober.

Knowledge is not a great predictor of health outcomes. I work in public health and when I was working on my degree,  they drilled all of these theories of health behavior change into us.  They are all basically the same, and they really didn’t make sense until I started to see them working in real life. Educating someone about things they should do about their health is only useful if you give them something actionable.

Practicing real, concrete steps to take is the best way to make lasting change.

Recovery capital is your tool-box. It is a list of these real concrete steps that will help you not just maintain your recovery but build a fulfilling life up around you. For some, it is simple things like housing, access to food and healthcare, and employment. Beyond that, it is supportive friends and mentors, exercise, hobbies, peer-groups, and counseling. The more consistent you can build these into your life the better. Below are some examples of the tools to put in your tool-box:

Basic needs:

  • Housing
  • Food
  • Healthcare
  • Employment
  • Hygiene
  • Rest and Sleep

Social Support:

  • Friends and family that support your recovery
  • Seeking a recovery mentor or sponsor
  • Peer support groups

Recovery Support:

  • Counseling
  • Peer coaching
  • Medication for substance use disorder
  • Treatment for mental health issues
  • Treatment for physical health issues


  • Exercise
  • Hobbies
  • Preventative medical and dental care
  • Meditation
  • Yoga

Research supports recovery capital in supporting long-term recovery.  These may all be seemingly little or normal things, but when they become priorities, they add up to produce lasting change.