Social Model Ecosystems

Recovery is supported or hindered by the setting (the ecosystem) in which individuals live, learn, work, play and commune with one another. The social model of recovery can be understood through a human ecological lens. Ecologists study ecosystems, which are a community of living organisms interacting with each other and with their environment as a system. A social model ecosystem includes: 

  • People – The living organisms, represented as colored circles in the diagram, are people starting and sustaining recovery from substance use issues. 
  • Place – The dotted circle surrounding the people represents the setting or the environment in which participants network and interact within a social model group. The structure and integrity of the setting have both architectural and functional characteristics. 
  • Policies – The white space within the environment represents the rules, guidelines, social norms, and covenants that shape the interaction amongst the People and the Place.
  • Interplay – The solid lines between the circles represent the interactions and relationships amongst individuals in the context of the environment.