Home > Exploring social support and identity in recovery: a photovoice study.

Rhynas, Sarah and Schölin, Lisa and Cuthill, Fiona and Walker, Brandan and Holloway, Aisha (2020) Exploring social support and identity in recovery: a photovoice study. London: Alcohol Change UK.

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Recovery from addiction can be a challenging and fluctuating journey and individual support needs vary throughout. Services for people in recovery have changed significantly in recent years, with emphasis placed on solutions and service-user experiences rather than traditional treatment approaches. However, the ‘key ingredients’ that help people to sustain recovery are not yet fully understood. This project aimed to explore what helps people to achieve and sustain recovery, in relation to social support, and both social and individual identity changes.

Key findings:
• Recovery is embraced and sustained by embedding the tools used in early recovery into an ongoing lifestyle to support an emerging recovery identity.
• Over time, strategies such as structuring time, being positively occupied, going to meetings and connecting with others become a stable base from which people can reach out for new experiences.
• Embedding these tools in an ongoing lifestyle provides individuals with the safety and security to try new things beyond the recovery community.
• Visible recovery networks and role models encourage access to recovery and help individuals to develop and sustain their own identity in recovery.
• Supportive social spaces to build networks and share experiences are central to enduring recovery.

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