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Many people considering treatment for addiction recovery never look for help because they don’t believe they can possibly succeed, especially if they already tried and failed at drug or alcohol rehab in the past. But be reassured: Achieving recovery often takes multiple attempts—just like quitting cigarettes. Start this time by looking at the personal qualities you have that are identified as your recovery capital.

You’ll have an idea what that term means if you’ve been fortunate enough to have some successes in your life during your adult years. Just like the term capital wealth refers to the strategies you’ve utilized to make the most of your earnings and savings, your recovery capital can strengthen your chances for success in kicking addiction. Recovery capital identifies your ability to voluntarily abstain from drugs or alcohol while maintaining good health and providing strong support to the people who need you. It breaks down into four basic areas:

  • Social Capital
  • Physical Capital
  • Human Capital
  • Cultural Capital

Socially, do your family and friends abstain from using and wholeheartedly support your addiction recovery? That’s your social capital. Living or socializing with other people who use will negatively impact your chances of success. Even if those people wish you well, they won’t provide the support you need in order to sustain your sobriety. This is a time when you’ll want to reconnect with your sober friends—or meet new ones at 12-step meetings.

Physical capital refers to your economic sturdiness. Are you socioeconomically equipped to handle recovery? Addiction recovery may be costly if your insurance won’t pay for it. Some people owe just small copays toward treatment but their household budgets are already stretched because of other financial obligations—often relating to addiction. Physical capital also refers to your access to transportation and childcare, and whether you can afford to move to a better neighborhood, if necessary.

Human capital requires you to dig down deep into your emotional and intellectual pockets and pull up whatever strengths you have inside. Is your health good? Have you established your motivations for working on recovery, other than avoiding jail? Your hopes and dreams also come into play here: If you’ve ever wished you could earn or complete your college degree or if you’re intent upon moving up the ladder at work, then focus on those goals as your genuine incentive for working hard on your recovery.

Culturally, do you admire the people in your world who succeed at achieving traditional values? Do you pay attention to community events? If you have a belief that a successful person is someone who chooses sobriety and becomes a contributing member of society—even if that means simply working hard and finding contentment among your family—then you have strong cultural capital.

Talk to Your Counselor About Your Recovery Capital

Some people fail to be aware of their own supply of recovery capital. This is a good topic for discussion with your counselor, who can help you realize your own strengths and overcome your weaknesses. If you don’t have medical insurance, the counselor can direct you to the Jobs and Family Services office so you can apply for a medical card. If you don’t have transportation to get to your local addiction recovery center, then there may be insurance-subsidized or public transportation options available.

Even if you live or socialize with other people who are actively using, your counselor can help you recognize your inherent strengths that will sustain you as you work your way toward sobriety.  You can get medical help if you need it. Learning about the 12 steps and attending both 12-step meetings and group counseling sessions constitute vital aspects of recovery. But you won’t know until you at least talk about it with someone. Pick up the phone, call your local alcohol or drug addiction recovery center, and begin the conversation today.