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Inclusive Recovery Cities

Make recovery visible and celebrate it.

What is an Inclusive Recovery City (IRC)?

An IRC is a community that actively supports visible recovery, challenges stigma and discrimination, and champions diverse paths to addiction recovery through effective community engagement. The core idea is that by embracing these principles, there is a reciprocal role of the recovery community in enchancing the overall quality of life for the broader community and the entire city can experience growth and shared benefits through new networks, connections, and resources.

An Inclusive Recovery City will build pathways, community and connection

Inclusive Recovery Cities are founded on an evidence base. IRC's aim to deliver what was set out for recovery-oriented systems of care (ROSC) by William White in 2008, by SAMHSA (the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) in 2009, and finally in a book called “Addiction Recovery Management” (edited by John Kelly and William White) in 2011. This is an incredibly ambitious approach to ensuring individualized care and support from an integrated system of trained and supported staff and peers that is culturally responsive, inclusive, and evidence-based.


However, that is not enough for a recovery city. We aim to go beyond to ensure that the recovery community in IRCs flourishes but are also, individually and collectively, active, visible, and integral contributors to the well-being, connectedness, and functioning of the city as a whole. 

Core Aims of an Inclusive Recovery City

Inclusive Recovery Cities are founded on an evidence base. Aiming to both embed and evolve the work by William L. White, MA, and SAMHSA on Recovery-Oriented Systems of Care (ROSC) and incorporating the CHIME Model (Leamy et al). CHIME  is an acronym, which stands for Connectedness, Hope & optimism about the future, Identity, Meaning in life & Empowerment. The core ideas of an IRC are; 

  • To reduce stigma around addiction and recovery.

  • Create pathways to community resources for people in recovery.

  • Contribute to civic society and engagement of vulnerable populations. 

  • Foster "reciprocal altruism" by recognizing the talents and contributions of people in recovery to community life. 

There is a mutual benefit- not just for people in recovery, but for the city, in that people in recovery, individually and as part of a vibrant and integrated recovery community, make the city a better place for everyone! 

Current Activity

The IRC movement has international traction, with European cities of Dublin, Gothenburg, Ghent,14 Balkan cities, and across the UK in cities such as Middlesbrough, York, Leeds, Doncaster, Birmingham, Newcastle, Blackpool, and Nottingham. Other cities in Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States have submitted their interest in joining the movement and becoming an IRC! We are excited to launch the first US IRC in Beckley, West Virginia on March 19th, 2024 with Seed Sower, Inc. taking the lead. 

Is your city ready to join the IRC movement? 

Click here to learn how your city can become an Inclusive Recovery City. 

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