Planting the seeds of change: Directionality in the narrative construction of recovery from addiction

Article


Kougiali, G., Fasulo, Alessandra, Needs, Adrian and Van Laar, Darren 2017. Planting the seeds of change: Directionality in the narrative construction of recovery from addiction. Psychology and Health. 32 (6), pp. 639-664.
AuthorsKougiali, G., Fasulo, Alessandra, Needs, Adrian and Van Laar, Darren
Abstract

Objective: The dominant theoretical perspective that guides treatment evaluations in addiction assumes linearity in the relationship between treatment and outcomes, viewing behaviour change as a ‘before and after event’. In this study we aim to examine how the direction of the trajectory of the process from addiction to recovery is constructed in personal narratives of active and recovering users.

Design: 21 life stories from individuals at different stages of recovery and active use were collected and analysed following the principles of narrative analysis.

Results: Personal trajectories were constructed in discontinuous, non-linear and long lasting patterns of repeated, and interchangeable, episodes of relapse and abstinence. Relapse appeared to be described as an integral part of a learning process through which knowledge leading to recovery was gradually obtained.

Conclusion: The findings show that long-term recovery is represented as being preceded by periods of discontinuity before change is stabilised. Such periods are presented to be lasting longer than most short-term pre-post intervention designs can capture and suggest the need to rethink how change is defined and measured.

Keywordsaddiction/substance use; behaviour change; narratives; recovery; processes of change
JournalPsychology and Health
Journal citation32 (6), pp. 639-664
ISSN0887-0446
1476-8321
Year2017
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge) for European Health Psychology Society
Accepted author manuscript
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/08870446.2017.1293053
Publication dates
Print01 Mar 2017
Publication process dates
Deposited02 Mar 2017
Accepted04 Feb 2017
Copyright informationThis is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis Group in Psychology and Health on 01/03/2017, available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08870446.2017.1293053
LicenseAll rights reserved (under embargo)
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