“One Out of Ten Ain’t Going to Make It”: An Analysis of Recovery Capital in the Rural Upper Midwest

Laura C Palombi, Amanda N. Hawthorne, Andrew Irish, Emily Becher, Elizabeth Bowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Substance use and associated fatalities are disproportionately experienced by rural communities. This study used consensual qualitative research methodology to analyze focus group data from individuals in short- and long-term recovery in rural Michigan and Minnesota. Coding was conducted within a recovery capital framework to improve understanding of the resources and barriers participants experienced in their recovery. Key findings included barriers related to transportation, as well as access to and availability of sober meetings and sober living activities. Participants perceived connections to culturally appropriate treatment as particularly important. A reconstruction of social networks from those promoting addiction to those supporting recovery was also prominently emphasized. Recovery capital appears to be a useful framework for assessing how rural communities are experiencing substance use crises, in addition to identifying areas of low capital and high need in supporting long-term recovery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)680-702
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Drug Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the work of treatment courts and recovery organizations across northern Minnesota and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and the individuals in recovery who participated in focus groups, so that we could learn more about how to build communities supportive of recovery. The author(s) received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • addiction
  • behavioral health
  • consensual qualitative research
  • focus groups
  • recovery capital
  • rural
  • substance use


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