Transformation of the Culture of Recovery in America

Transformation of the Culture of Recovery in America

Course Description

For almost three centuries, people recovering from severe alcohol and other drug problems have found ways to help each other initiate and sustain their recovery journeys. Today, recovering people, their families, and visionary professionals have responded to the stigma, criminalization, and lack of appropriate medical care associated with severe alcohol and other drug problems by creating an unprecedented growth in new structures of recovery support. This presentation will explore historic and recent recovery community building activities and the influence they will exert on the future of addiction treatment and recovery in America.


The goals of this presentation are to:

  1. Provide a historical update of the culture of recovery in America to include a review of diverse communities of recovery and the emergence of new recovery culture institutions.
  2. Explore the implications of these changes for the future of addiction treatment and recovery.


After completing this program participants will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Describe four or more events or developments in the history of addiction treatment and recovery that occurred in the USA prior to 1900.
  2. Describe four or more events or developments in the history of addiction treatment and recovery that occurred in the USA from 1900 to 2000.
  3. Describe three or more current developments in addiction treatment and recovery that are in process at this time.

About the Presenter

William L. (Bill) White, MA; Senior Research Consultant, Chestnut Health System.

Writing Desk 2008Bill White graduated magna cum laude from Eureka College and obtained a Master’s Degree in Psychology / Addiction Studies from Goddard College. He has worked full time in the addiction treatment field since 1969 as a streetworker (indigenous outreach worker and community organizer,) counselor, clinical director, administrator, and research associate. His early employers include the Illinois Department of Mental Health, several local addiction treatment and mental health agencies, the Illinois Dangerous Drugs Commission, and the Midwest training center of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. He was one of the founding staff members of Ligththouse (Chestnut Health Systems, 1973) and, following positions in Chicago and Washington D.C., returned in 1986 to start Chestnut’s research and training division. He has provided training and consultation in 45 states and in Asia and Europe. A visible fixture on the addictions summer school and conference keynote/workshop circuit for more than two decades, Bill recently refocused his professional activity on recovery-focused consultations and professional writing. Bill has authored or co-authored more than 300 articles, monographs, research reports and book chapters as well as 16 books, including “Let’s Go Make Some History: Chronicles of the New Addiction Recovery Advocacy Movement,” “Pathways From The Culture of Addiction to the Culture of Recovery,” and “Slaying the Dragon: The History of Addiction Treatment and Recovery in America” which received the McGovern Family Foundation Award for the best book on addiction recovery. Bill has been a visible recovery advocate. He is the past-chair of Recovery Communities United and has served as a volunteer consultant to Faces and Voices of Recovery since its inception in 2001. He has worked with recovery advocacy organizations all over the United States and has keynoted several recovery summits, including the historic St. Paul Recovery Summit in 2001. He has also served on the board of the Betty Ford Institute, the International Advisory Board of SMART Recovery, the Scientific Advisory Board of Phoenix House, the board of Wellbriety for Prisons, Inc., the Advisory Council of the Association of Recovery Schools, and the editorial boards of Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, Counselor and Student Assistance Journal. Bill’s sustained contributions to the field have been acknowledged by awards from the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, NAADAC: The Association of Addiction Professionals, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and the Native American Wellbriety Movement.

Number of CE hours offered

1.5 CEH, approved by MCBAP and NAADAC. A passing grade of 80% on the final exam is required for CE hours to be awarded.