Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Bahá'í faith members' experiences contributing to long-term substance abuse recovery
by Harrison, Colette M., Ph.D., Capella University, 2014, 260; 3646135
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this research was to further elucidate two related factors about recovery from addiction to alcohol and/or other drugs. The lived experiences of participants gave texture to this qualitative phenomenological study and focused on gaining an appreciation of the characteristics of long-term sobriety. There has been a gap in the literature regarding what transpires over time for those who remain sober/clean for five years or more. One particular aspect was the role that spirituality played in long-term recovery. While spirituality has been studied, it has not often been addressed from a different perspective than that offered through the prevalent 12-Step model. For this study, members of the Bahá'í Faith from across the United States were recruited through a Bahá'í listserve to obtain the broadest possible demographics within this target group. The significance of spirituality and/or aspects of their faith were an integral part of the participants' lives and provided a framework that encouraged them to be of service to others and help others in community-building initiatives. Key themes were identified as education, self-determination, spirituality, and transformation. The length of sobriety of the participants ranged from five to 40 years and participants were between 25 and 73 years of age. A shift has gradually taken place in substance abuse treatment from a paradigm of relapse prevention into a process of community recovery and "wellbriety." This most recent approach is in keeping with the Bahá'í principles leading to the acquisition and practice of virtues or strengths of character. Character strengths in turn helped the participants effectively navigate the challenges of "living life on life's terms." Living by these principles led participants to develop a new sense of self brought about through self-determination and self-efficacy. Together, self-determination and self-efficacy also formed the research's theoretical framework. Insights shared by the participants can inform and help those with less time in recovery, in addition to those who may still struggle with active addiction, early recovery, and new understanding of "spirituality" in this context. As such, implications from this research address recommended improvements in education, research, and practice, as well as potential policy changes.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Durante, Joan
Commitee: Johnson, Kit, O'Reilly, Ayn
School: Capella University
Department: School of Public Service Leadership
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-B 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Mental health, Spirituality
Keywords: Addiciton recovery, Alcohol and other drugs, Long-term sobriety, Service to others, Substance abuse
Publication Number: 3646135
ISBN: 978-1-321-36017-2
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