“A life more ordinary” Processes of 5-year recovery from substance abuse. Experiences of 30 recovered service users
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Background: Studies investigating the subjective experiences of long-term recovery from substance use disorder are scarce. Particularly, functional and social factors have received little attention. Objectives: To investigate what long-term recovered service users found to build recovery from substance use disorder. Material and Methods: The study was designed as a phenomenological investigation subjected to thematic analysis. We interviewed 30 long-term recovered adult service users. Results: Our thematic analysis resulted in five themes and several subthemes: 1) paranoia, ambivalence and drug cravings: extreme barriers to ending use; 2) submitting to treatment: a struggle to balance rigid treatment structures with a need for autonomy; 3) surrendering to trust and love: building a whole person; 4) a life more ordinary: surrendering to mainstream social responsibilities; and 5) taking on personal responsibility and gaining autonomy: it has to be me, it cannot be you. Conclusions: Our study sample described long-term recovery as a developmental process from dependency and reactivity to personal autonomy and self-agency. The flux of surrendering to and differentiating from authority appeared to be a driving force in recovery progression. Participants called for treatment to focus on early social readjustment.
CitationBjørnestad JR, Svendsen TS, Slyngstad TE, Erga AH, McKay JR, Nesvåg S, Skaalevik AW, Veseth M, Moltu C. “A life more ordinary” Processes of 5-year recovery from substance abuse. Experiences of 30 recovered service users. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2019;10:689
Subjectsubstance usesubstance use disorderdrug reductiondrug changerecoverylong-term recoveryfunctional factorssocial factors
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