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What Is It Like to Be in Alcohol Addiction Recovery? A Dialectical Phenomenological Analysis.

Psychopathology 2024 May 17
INTRODUCTION: Currently, there is no scientific consensus on the concept of alcohol addiction recovery beyond substance use control. This conceptual issue challenges the implementation of therapeutic strategies and mental health policies that are unrestricted to symptomatic remission. Aiming to contribute to its definition, this study aimed to examine the recovery experience of individuals with alcohol addiction using dialectical phenomenological psychopathology (DPP) as a theoretical and methodological framework.

METHODS: A dialectical phenomenological analysis was conducted through an examination of online interviews with eight Brazilian, São Paulo state citizens who were self-declared to be undergoing alcohol addiction recovery (or who declared that they had completely recovered).

RESULTS: Participants' reports generated eight categories that were subdivided into two groups. The first group indicated experiential elements of recovery, such as changes in self-relation, changes in interpersonal relations, and changes in time relations, giving new meanings to suffering and alcohol use, and recovery as a continuous process. The second group referred to how the participants interpreted recovery according to their worldviews: as a spiritual experience, moral reformation, and mentality change.

CONCLUSION: These categories can be understood through the lens of DPP as a process of change in the subjects' being in the world, characterized by the continued management of their existential imbalances in the dimensions of spatiality, temporality, selfhood, and intersubjectivity. The results are preliminary when it comes to conceptualizing recovery but may help future studies to develop recovery-oriented therapeutic strategies.

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