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Monday, January 23, 2012

Mapping the Maintenance Stage of Recovery: A Qualitative Study among Treated and Non-treated Former Alcohol Dependents in Poland

The study provides an in-depth qualitative understanding of the maintenance stage when recovering from alcohol dependence with a focus on the broader social context of change of addictive behaviour. It explores the recovery as a subjective process within the abstinence-oriented Polish treatment system organized on the basis of the Minnesota model and is probes for group differences between treated and non-treated populations.

The study is based on qualitative data from a media-recruited sample of 29 treated and non-treated former alcohol dependents (ICD-10) in Warsaw/Poland 2006/2007. They reported a recovery time of at least 2 years (Mrecovery = 11, SD = 9). In-depth, semi-structured interviews were analysed according to the problem-centred interview method using ATLAS.ti software.

A wide range of maintenance strategies potentially contributing to the stabilization of recovery from alcohol dependence was identified. However, from the respondents' point of view, the change process is contingent upon the subjective weighing of specific maintenance factors and the importance attributed to their interplay. This includes time management as well as one's ability to invest available resources and strengths in shaping and pursuing personal goals.

More commonalities than differences can be observed between groups during the maintenance stage, regardless of respondents' type of the pathway out of addiction. However, when confronting professional concepts of recovery with subjective accounts, only a subgroup conforms to the invasive, potentially normative definitions of recovery, while others do not link their recovery with identity transformation.

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