What is Recovery? A Working Definition

The Betty Ford Institute Consensus Panel, Elsevier

Addiction, Social Policy

February 2010

This article presents a working definition for the term "recovery." Although widely used, the lack of a standard definition for this term has hindered public understanding and research that might foster more and better recovery-oriented interventions. To this end, the Betty Ford Institute connected a group of interested researchers, treatment providers, recovery advocates, and policy-makers to develop an initial definition of recovery as a starting point for better communication, research, and public understanding. Recovery is defined as a voluntarily maintained lifestyle characterized by sobriety, personal health, and citizenship. In this article, you'll find the operational definitions, rationales, and research implications for each of the three elements of this definition.