Building Recovery Capital with David Collins


David Collins is well known in the recovery world.  He is the founder of the Foundation Clinic and U-ACT here in South Africa.  He is a Master Recovery Coach with a keen sense of social responsibility.  Through his Ubuntu Addiction Community Trust, he’s trained a team of Recovery Coaches who are addressing South Africa’s need to build recovery capital.

In this Episode

  • David’s father was an alcoholic and he told us the touching story of creating a picture of his family in school at the age of 10 – then a classmate looked at the picture and said that his parents were drug addicts.
  • That makes me think of our last workshop. There were several people there who had alcoholism in the family.  There was also a young guy who had small children and he told us that just listening to the sad stories of people who had grown up with an alcoholic parent had made him determined to change.
  • David made the decision that he would never be like his father – so he turned to hard drugs rather than alcohol!
  • We talked about the false beliefs we all have about addiction – the stories we tell ourselves – for example, that wine is “better” than cocaine – but of course it’s all about drugs.
  • He told us that it took about 3 years for him to go from “I’ve got a problem” to “This is hell and I need help” –  I’ve often talked about the average length of time it takes someone with an alcohol problem to reach out for help being 11 years, so it seems that hard drugs will take you down faster!
  • David hit his rock bottom when he became addicted to heroin and crack cocaine and lost his kids to foster care.
  • As a result of a medical at the Japanese bank where he was working, David was sent to his first rehab but it took a few rehab stays before he got clean.
  • He began his journey into recovery 26 years ago – when there was nothing else available except the 12-step approach.
  • However, the 12-step model worked for him and he was abstinent for 15 years – in fact, he called himself Captain Recovery and collected all the chips and keyrings going!
  • He was back in banking, remarried, and was ticking all the boxes for a happy life – the only problem was that he wasn’t happy!
  • David did some personal development with the Mankind Project and then studied business coaching. It occurred to him that the coaching model would fit very well into recovery processes.
  • As he explained, the discipline of the 12 steps kept him clean for 12 years but then he needed more – rather than being told to keep to the steps, he was ready to be empowered to discover what recovery actually meant for him – and recovery coaching was the perfect mechanism for that.
  • The role of the recovery coach is to facilitate the growth of Recovery Capital.
  • David explained that Recovery Capital is about building internal resources so that we can stay clean and be fulfilled in our lives.
  • Here at Tribe Sober, we enable you to quit drinking and then go on and thrive in your alcohol-free life – we have our own Recovery Coaches who can help you to build those inner resources needed to thrive.
  • David talked about shame – the internal shame we all feel when we are struggling – and the communal shame felt by the family – and then of course the stigma society places on addiction which perpetuates the problem. We have to find a way to lift the shame and let the healing begin.
  • We talked about the wider problems of alcohol and drug abuse here in SA and David is personally involved in training and sending recovery coaches into communities.
  • He strongly believes that recovery capital is key and research has shown for every $1 spent on education there is a saving of $7 ($3 on medical costs and $4 on criminal justice interventions).
  • That’s a pretty impressive return on investment!
  • With the work he does in the world of recovery, David feels that he has connected to his soul’s purpose.
  • You can find out more about David on his website which is He’s on Instagram and I also spotted him doing some crazy stuff on TikTok the other day so do check him out!

More Info

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The 11 Year Fact

Did you know that the average dependent drinker will struggle alone for 11 years before reaching out for help?

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