An Exploration of Volunteering Experiences During Recovery from a Substance Use Disorder: An Extended Research Proposal
Scotland has one of the highest rates of substance use disorders in the UK and Europe. To address this issue, various strategies have been endorsed by the Scottish Government with varying success. Globally, there are emerging perspectives from authors, researchers and individuals themselves who reject traditional definitions of “addiction” and “recovery” while promoting the rights of those with substance use disorders as disadvantaged and excluded members of society. Volunteering has been promoted as part of individuals’ recovery from substance dependency. Through an integrative literature review, the researcher examines experiences of undertaking this occupation from the perspective of individuals’ recovering from a substance use disorder. There is, however, a dearth of research into how volunteering affects this population. Additionally, existing literature repeatedly conceptualises individuals’ addiction as personal deviance and, subsequently, lack of reflexivity affects findings with regards to accrued benefits and expected outcomes of this role. The literature review generates aims and objectives for research which the consequent research proposal attempts to address. The researcher’s selection of hermeneutic phenomenology, specifically the individual interviews based on the idiographic IPA approach, would aim to gain insight into how individuals perceive their experiences of volunteering. This research would attempt to explore volunteering as a potentially multifaceted intervention to promote sustainable person-centred recovery in addition to health and wellbeing of this population. Occupational Therapy theory and Occupational Science, here, has an opportunity to contribute to this gap in the literature through profession-specific knowledge, their person-centred values and the emerging addiction-as-occupation movement.