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The idea of recovery capital is crucial to developing our understanding of how recovery happens as it provides the opportunity to map and measure where a person is on their recovery journey and what resources they both have and need. It is also a big shift away from traditional clinical approaches to assessing and risk assessing people in that it:


  • Switches from a deficits to a strengths model

  • It places the individual and their needs at the heart of the process

  • The key location for building recovery capital is the community not the clinic or hospital

  • There are no bounds to how much recovery capital a person can grow (in other words it is about living a fulfilling life, and not just one that is free of alcohol and drugs)

  • It places responsibility for change both on the individual and on the social networks and communities in which they live

However, it has also allowed us to do something different – it has given us a way of counting and measuring (in a systematic and scientific way) where someone is on their recovery journey.


“Longitudinal studies have repeatedly demonstrated that addictions treatment (particularly for 90 or more days) is associated with major reductions in substance use, problems and costs to society … However, post-discharge relapse and eventual re-admission are also the norm …The risk of relapse does not appear to abate until 4 to 5 years of abstinence … Retrospective and prospective treatment studies report that most clients undergo 3 to 4 episodes of care before reaching a stable state of abstinence … In spite of this evidence of chronicity and multiple episodes of care, most … treatment continues to be characterized as relatively self-encapsulated, serial episodes of acute treatment with post discharge aftercare typically limited to passive referrals to self-help groups.”


U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Report to Congress

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REC-CAP stands for Recovery Capital and is an evidence-based assessment & recovery planning instrument developed by Dr. David Best that:

  • Assesses an individual’s recovery strengths, barriers and unmet service needs

  • Supports trained navigators to guide individuals in the execution of concrete recovery goals

  • Delivers longitudinal measurement of recovery capital gains over quarterly intervals

REC CAP is appropriate for implementation in both clinical and peer settings, bridging the gap between a client’s exiting addiction treatment and assuming responsibility for self-directed recovery.

The Process

Assessment completion

The process begins with the client’s completion of the REC-CAP Assessment. A baseline assessment is administered when the client first arrives at the program. The client is then re-assessed on a monthly or quarterly basis, depending on the intensity of the program’s platform, with the intent of identifying recovery capital gains and to identify any persistent barriers or unmet service needs.

REC CAP assessment is organized under nine sections: Demographics, Quality of Life & Satisfaction, Barriers to Recovery, Services Involvement & Needs, Personal Recovery Readiness, Social Recovery Capital, Involvements with Recovery Groups and Local Community, Commitment, and What do you See As Your Needs?  These nine sections evaluate the entire spectrum of recovery from a strength-based perspective and the results are as meaningful at ten years of recovery as they are at ten days.

This process encourages continued focus on the achievement of recovery goals.


assessment results

The results of the REC-CAP Assessment generate a results summary color-coded the same way as a traffic light. Red items are areas where a barrier exists or a strength is absent, yellow items that are moderately acceptable but perhaps need additional work, and green items indicating strength or the absence of a barrier. Unmet service needs are also identified based on involvement, satisfaction, and desire for additional help.

With a bit of guidance, these results become a powerful, collaborative tool that the client and navigator utilize to frame a Recovery Plan tailored to the client’s needs.


Goal mapping

REC CAP quantifies client strengths in four categories: personal, social, well-being and support & commitment. The node-link map helps trained navigators to visualize assessment results and guide clients in establishing concrete goals to achieve resiliency. Barriers and unmet service needs are mapped to concrete goals designed to address them, alongside existing strengths that the client already brings to the table.


Recovery navigation

Navigational support is frequently vital to sustain resiliency during early stages of the client’s recovery journey. Navigators are peer mentors with experience living fulfilling lives in recovery, not just clinicians with an academic understanding. Navigators help the client to create finite, concrete goals and then mentor, monitor and measure goal achievement as clients execute their self-directed recovery plan. These navigational sessions are typically one hour in length and may take place on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis.


This is the foundation upon which the Measure, Plan & Engage process begins with clients and their peers. The summary results will inform the Recovery Care Planning process ARMS will facilitate the collection of data pertaining to the goals, events, and resources as part of the recovery plan which will address the barriers and unmet service needs for residents which will allow the resident and peer to focus on growing Recovery Capital strengths.


In addition to the Measure, Plan & Engage navigational toolkit FARR has made available to its certified recovery residence functionality for the management of your Recovery Residence including some features such as;


Outcome Measurements: Evidence based assessment of recovery capital demonstrates the efficacy of support services delivered by your program.

In addition to the Measure, Plan & Engage navigational toolkit FARR has made available to its certified recovery residence functionality for the management of your Recovery Residence including....

Outcome Measurements:

Evidence based assessment of recovery capital demonstrates the efficacy of support services delivered by your program

Bed Board:

Keep track of bed availability and wait list functionality

Resident Records:

Maintain your client records in a cloud based system which can be accessed using any web-enabled device


Paperless documentation, execution and retrieval of resident forms, agreements, and confidentiality releases

Custom intake and
pre-admission forms:

Collect the information you want by using custom intake forms and set up a preadmissions link directly on your website

Your use of the ARMS system & MPE tools native to this platform will provide
de-identified data to researchers to continue to grow the science of recovery which we hope will help to shorten addiction careers.

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