Recovery and Abstinence


Ours is truly a hopeful message. Despite a societal tendency to dismiss and stigmatise people suffering from addiction as “hopeless addicts”, recovery is possible. In fact, most people find a way out of addiction by themselves. Others find they cannot do it on their own and need the help of other people, whether from mutual aid groups (AA, NA etc.) or from treatment professionals, or both. Recal is here for those who feel they need both.


People in recovery from addiction generally use that phrase “in recovery” rather than “cured” or even “recovered” as this recognises and accepts the ever present risk of relapse. The vulnerability to addiction remains but is consistently reduced by the incorporation and practice of recovery behaviours and attitudes. Over time they become second nature. It is a somewhat like continuously strengthening the immune system to reduce the risk of infection. Some researchers have coined the phrase “better than well” to describe the significant personal gains evidently made by people in lasting recovery.


Whereas addiction is partly defined by the narrowing of life to the slavish demands of the relationship to a mood-altering substance or behaviour, recovery opens up all manner of possibilities. Along with it comes personal discovery, growth and freedom.


Recovery can be enjoyed both by individuals and families to whom Recal offers specialist help.




The chances of recovery are now known to be improved by:


  • Withdrawing from the addictive behaviour.


  • Letting go of social networks supportive of addiction in favour of social networks supportive of recovery.


  • Finding new purpose in life and doing something meaningful.


  • Strengthening the resources for recovery: stable home, mental and physical health, family, education, employment, healthy recreation.


Equipo personal de apoyo a la recuperación Fundación Recal

Recovery Support Team



The role of treatment is to provide a safe place in which to identify what needs to change, to understand what might make that difficult and with the help of skilled practitioners and other people also aiming for recovery, to begin making those changes. Treatment supports the transition and adjustment to living without the addiction that follows the decision to give up. It provides the opportunity for intensive learning about the condition and the everyday factors that enable or undermine recovery. It introduces to and steeps the patient in the recovery attitudes and behaviours on which they will depend well beyond treatment.



It is often thought that abstinence and recovery is the same thing. It is not. Abstinence is a means to an end rather than end in itself. The ultimate goal is lasting freedom from addiction. With that in mind it is worth noting that, according to some researchers, more stable remission from addiction is associated with abstinence.


Abstinence allows the body, mind and spirit to recover thereby increasing the prospects of improving overall wellbeing. Importantly, it also makes space for personal discovery and growth, essential elements of a dynamic and lasting recovery.


For some people, the path to recovery may include a period of medically managed consumption or substitution medication and this forms the basis of what are called harm reduction approaches. However, abstinence, except from appropriately prescribed medications, is a starting point and an essential condition of treatment at Recal where a drug-free state is achieved through carefully managed detoxification.



Smoking is permitted in designated areas outside the building but we will strongly encourage patients to consider quitting through a smoking cessation programme while they have the resources to help them do so. Caffeine and sugar consumption are monitored.