Life In Recovery Surveys – Australia, USA and the UK

“Recovery introduced me to myself. The hardest but most rewarding journey I have ever undertaken.”

Recovery from alcohol and drug addiction is now widely recognised as a journey that takes place over time and in a multitude of ways that reflect personal circumstances, supports and resources.”


The Australian Life in Recovery Survey, conducted by Professor David Best of Sheffield Hallam University and Turning Point in partnership with South Pacific Private, is the largest survey of its kind in Australia.

This survey provides an important first glimpse into the lives of people in recovery through comparisons of key domains of life and wellbeing during active addiction and after seeking recovery.

Additionally, comparisons are drawn to the U.S. version of the survey sponsored by Faces & Voices of Recovery. Just click image below for the findings.


The first ever survey in the UK into Life in Recovery is also in the process – please click this link and contribute if you can?


Understanding recovery greatly helps with reducing the stigma attached with suffering from an addictive disorder. Please help?

The survey will be open until the 30th June 2015.


Life in Recovery Survey UK 2015


Please click to refer to the infographic of and the introduction to the survey results from the Australian survey.

and click here for the findings and report –

Part 1


Just over half of those who participated were female (54.6%), and the average age of participants was 43.6 years (although the range was from 15 to 76 years). The vast majority of participants lived in Australia (97.3%) although small numbers of participants completed the survey who lived in the US, Europe, Indonesia and South Africa.

Participants were educated to varying degrees – just over 40% had a university qualification. Occupational status varied markedly across the group with just under half (44.6%) employed full time, 19.8% employed part-time, 5.8% self-employed and 5.4% students. In other words, 75.6% were involved in employment or education with the remainder retired (5.6%), involved in home duties (3.2%) and unemployed or on disability support pension (15.7%).



Participants were asked about their primary addiction – for 35.3% this was alcohol only

for 11.1% it was drugs only

and for 53.6% it was both drugs and alcohol.

Nonetheless, the primary problem substance was predominantly alcohol (for 66.0% of participants)

followed by heroin and other opiates (14.1%),

methamphetamines (4.2%),

cannabis (3.7%),

cocaine (2.9%),

other amphetamine type substances (1.9%)

and pharmaceutical opioids (1.9%).

Participants had typically experienced lengthy addiction careers – reporting an average of 18.6 years of AOD use (ranging from 1 to 47 years) and an average of 12.5 years of active addiction (ranging from 1 to 47 years).

There was a significant rate of adverse life events reported across the participants with 91.5% reporting life time mental health challenges and 56.8% reporting some current involvement in mental health treatment.

In contrast, current wellbeing was rated positively on the three wellbeing scales…

What this means is that participants were generally in a positive space although some participants had poor wellbeing across all three indicators.

At the time of the interview, 298 participants (52.0% of the overall sample) were receiving help or treatment for mental health problems.

What is clear is that this diminishes over time – while 86.1% of those in the first three years of recovery are receiving some form of help or treatment for emotional or mental health problems, this is the case for 58.0% of those between three and ten years in recovery and 33.5% of those more than ten years into their recovery journeys.”

To be continued…

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