UBC Theses and Dissertations
Issues women identify during their first three years of recovery from alcohol and drug addiction Hardin, Melinda McKernan
Research targeting the chemically dependent woman has received little attention, even though the research indicates a convergence of male and female drinking norms. Research centered on the special issues of the chemically dependent woman also needs to be extended beyond the scope of actual alcohol and drug abuse and resulting treatment to include information on what issues women face in their recovery process. The findings would help treatment providers design more successful interventions for this population. This study used qualitative methods to investigate issues that 12 chemically dependent women, ranging in actual time in recovery from first to third year post inpatient treatment, discussed as part of a 16 week therapy group. Their recorded responses were transcribed and analyzed, using Glaser and Strauss' methods of comparative analysis, comparing the women between three groups desiginated by the divisions of first, second, and third year post inpatient treatment. The findings indicate that all share many of the same issues, however there are marked differences between the groups. All the women had difficulties with intra- and interrelationships, finding it difficult to maintain a healthy recovery in spite of the problems they confronted in experiencing reality without mind-altering substances. Many issues were influenced by the subjects' family of origin history and sex-role orientation. Conflicts in role obligations resulting in work, family, parenting, and relationship problems surfaced. All the women were aware of additional substance and compulsive dependencies that they would like to eliminate; however, avoiding relapse of their alcohol/drug addiction was the major concern for most. The findings reveal that the longer women spent time actively undertaking a concerted program of recovery, the more they experienced integration into the rest of society, and that the acquisition of life skills and resolution of the past were important factors to the success of this integration. The categories and theme issues that emerged from the analysis have implications for social work practice, policy, and further research.
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