The Relational Essence of Natural Recovery: Natural Recovery as Relational Practice
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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This article offers a relational practice view to conceptualize natural recovery from addiction concerns. Through the lens of a social practice framework, the processes of natural recovery are seen as specific relational trajectories or transformative pathways involving relationships between humans, non-humans, communities, and philosophies, rather than as a process of symptom elimination. We argue that this kind of conceptualization of recovery acknowledges the many people who manage to recover without treatment or professional help, known as natural recovery. In addiction practices, we can see the dominance of pathologizing interpersonal patterns (PIPs) that maintain the addictive process. Over the course of recovery, we can see the dominance of healing interpersonal patterns (HIPs) that support the recovery process. To utilize this understanding as practitioners, we need to help nourish the platforms where the healing interactional patterns in daily life might be supported and maintained. While this reduces power from the position of “expert” in the biomedical model, it also provides more optimism, as members of the social network we can directly contribute to those healing interpersonal patterns—by the way we relate to, support, and engage with other people.