The First Dimension of Recovery: Clinical


If you ask people that are in recovery what recovery means and looks like to them, you are likely to get as many answers as people you ask. Similarly, when talking to a treatment provider, counselor, doctor, or social worker you are also likely to get a variety of answers. Some view recovery as reducing problematic, self-harming behaviors, and improving health. Others may see it as the ability to hold down a steady job and maintain healthy relationships.


At the Addiction Policy Forum, we like to look at recovery through five dimensions.

  • Clinical,

  • Physical,

  • Functional,

  • Social, and

  • Existential.

If you’d like to learn more about viewing recovery through five dimensions, the approach is eloquently outlined by Dr. Rob Whitley and Dr. Robert E. Drake in