The Relational Essence of Natural Recovery: Natural Recovery as Relational Practice

  • Tanya Mudry
  • Pavel NepustilEmail author
  • Ottar Ness
Original Article


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.


Recovery Natural recovery Relational recovery social practice theory Addiction 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Author X, Author Y, and Author Z declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Our Lady of the Lake UniversitySan AntonioUSA
  2. 2.Spolek NarativBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department for Education and Lifelong LearningNorwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  4. 4.Department for Health, Social and Welfare StudiesUniversity College of Southeast NorwayDrammenNorway

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