Recovery Identity and Wellbeing: Is It Better to be ‘Recovered’ or ‘in Recovery’?

David Best, Catrin Andersson, Jamie Irving, Michael G. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Although there has been debate about the meaning of recovery, there has been little discussion about how people characterize their own recovery experience, in particular whether people describe themselves as recovered (as with a therapeutic community [TC] philosophy) or as in recovery (typically those engaged in 12-step). The article assesses differences in wellbeing as a function of recovery self-ascriptions, based on the UK Life in Recovery survey. Those who described themselves as recovered or ex-addicts reported better psychological health and lower identification with addicts and recovery and showed stronger recovery functioning. There are clearly multiple pathways to recovery, and philosophy may impact on both trajectory of recovery and the social identity mechanisms underpinning change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-36
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Groups in Addiction and Recovery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Addiction identity
  • recovery definition
  • social identity
  • wellbeing

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