The international Life In Recovery (LiR) surveys have provided an important message to the public and policy makers about the reality of change from addiction to recovery, consistently demonstrating both that there are marked gains across a range of life domains and that the longer the person is in recovery the better their recovery strengths and achievements. However, to date, no attempt has been made to quantify the Life In Recovery scales and to assess what levels of change in removing barriers and building strengths is achieved at which point in the recovery journey.
The current study undertakes a preliminary analysis of strengths and barriers from the Life in Recovery measure, using data from a European survey on drug users in recovery (n = 480), and suggests that the instrument can be edited into a Strengths And Barriers Recovery Scale (SABRS). The new scale provides a single score for both current recovery strengths and barriers to recovery.
The resulting data analysis shows that there are stepwise incremental changes in recovery strengths at different recovery stages, but these occur with only very limited reductions in barriers to recovery, with even those in stable recovery typically having at least two barriers to their quality of life and wellbeing. Greater strengths in active addiction are associated with greater strengths and resources in recovery.
As well as demonstrating population changes in each of the domains assessed, the current study has shown the potential of the Life In Recovery Scale as a measure of recovery capital that can be used to support recovery interventions and pathways.