The culture of recovery: an antidote to coloniality

David Best, David Patton, Peter Pula, Yvonne Hollandy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is need at a conceptual level for research to embrace and develop more macro, structural and cultural understandings of addiction and recovery. This article addresses this gap by exploring the features of the culture of recovery with its distinct array of norms, values, beliefs, and practices. The findings reveal a strengths-based community culture, centred around authenticity, purpose, creativity, empowerment, and generativity. Contrasting this culture with the prevailing societal structures reveals stark differences. The culture of recovery champions connection, community, collaboration, creativity, hope, healing, liberation, empowerment, and purposeful contribution. These stand in opposition to individualism, competition, consumption, isolation, and control perpetuated by coloniality, capitalism, and positivism. When comparing the features of both cultures, it becomes evident that recovery culture may serve as an antidote to coloniality. This study reveals a striking resonance between the culture of recovery and the frameworks of recovery capital and CHIME. Both are regarded here as decolonial frameworks as they point to the existence of an alternative way of life to the one created by coloniality. This research underscores the need for future research to adopt a cultural perspective to investigate how personal recovery journeys intersect with cultural capital and their impact on social and structural change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAddiction and Criminology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2023


  • addiction recovery
  • culture of recovery
  • coloniality
  • antidotes
  • recovery capital


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