Charting Women's Journeys: From Addiction to Recovery

Judith Grant, Ohio University

The extant literature shows that relatively little is written about women's recovery processes from their use of controlled substances (including legal, illegal, prescription and non-prescription drugs, and/or alcohol). Drawing on role-exit theory, this paper centers on the processes by which women formerly addicted to controlled substances negotiate their movement out of and away from their addiction and into recovery. Through an exploration of the experiences of recovery for 25 formerly addicted women, an overview is provided of how these women experience a role-exit process of change through a consideration of the following: how they disengage from their roles as women formerly addicted; how they disidentify from these roles and, subsequently, how they become resocialized through adjustment and adaptation to their new roles as women no longer addicted to controlled substances. Such processes of recovery help to determine the frameworks within which particular women experience their epistemological reorientations that opens the way for new possibilities (through recovery) to emerge, along with a new collaborative relationship with the world as they move out of their addiction and into recovery. This determination includes an evaluation of how these experiences fit within the role-exit model.

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Updated 05/20/2006