Recovering from Addiction: An exploration of stigma amongst women in recovery from drug addiction
(2015) Recovering from Addiction: An exploration of stigma amongst women in recovery from drug addiction, no. 60.
Recovery is increasingly becoming the dominant paradigm within addiction services (Burns and Marks 2014), however it can be argued that it remains misunderstood, as addiction and recovery, are both reported as complex and multi-dimensional in nature (Hammer et al. 2012; Sussman and Sussman 2011). Each has been researched in depth from a number of perspectives, one of the most common being symbolic interactionism, which revealed the importance of identity in the 'recovery process'. Moreover, previous research has made much use of Goffman's notion of a 'spoiled identity' (1963). However previous research has predominantly focused on males, and only recently has it come to be understood that women have differing experiences (Covington 2002; Greenfield et al. 2007; Hunter et al. 2013; Kearney 1998; Kruk and Sandberg 2013; McKeganey 2014). This research therefore was conducted with a view to explore what the claiming of a recovery identity means to the female participants, and to what extent they found this to be an empowering identity or otherwise. While furthermore exploring their experiences of addiction as a factor which 'spoiled' their lives to determine whether they would accept this to be the case and also to uncover what the specific challenges were for females beginning their 'recovery journey'. Naturalistic enquiry (Blumer 1986) was chosen as the most appropriate methodology, with semi-structured interviews conducted with six participants from the recovery community within Edinburgh. The data gathered suggests that women do experience some discrimination as a result of their past problem drug use, however they also report positive experiences, highlighting their feelings of the positive aspects of claiming a recovery identity, which may be as a result of the recent paradigm shift in policy. Also revealed are the ways in which they focus on the importance of identity transformation throughout their recovery which emphasises how vital this aspe