David Best recently wrote a piece on addiction and quality of life.
On the role of community in recovery:
At the heart of the recovery movement is a shift of emphasis away from “treatment” as a model reliant on professionally delivered interventions. Rather, the movement sees the recovery journey an intrinsically social process and seeks to create the conditions that allow those with addiction problems to achieve a sense of connection in their community, including with peers who are further along in the path of recovery.
On the evidence for the positive impact of social connectedness:
From the United States, we know that only around 10% of those who complete alcohol or drug treatment receive community-based ongoing help. Yet, when this is received, it improves the person’s outcomes by 30 to 40%.
Similarly, a 2009 trial of support for problem drinkers found that adding one person in recovery to the social networks of a newly detoxified drinker improved the chances of them staying sober for a year by 27%. This is a huge impact that results from changing not only social networks but the underlying values, attitudes, beliefs and expectations.
A Scottish study of recovering alcoholics and heroin users in the deprived housing estates of Glasgow found that the more time people spent with other people in recovery, the greater the levels of well-being reported.
It also found that people who were active in their families and communities – by parenting, volunteering, being members of social networks, by working and training – had the best quality of life.