Home > ‘It’s not 9 to 5 recovery’: the role of a recovery community in producing social bonds that support recovery.

Anderson, Martin and Devlin, Alison M and Pickering, Lucy and McCann, Mark and Wight, Daniel (2021) ‘It’s not 9 to 5 recovery’: the role of a recovery community in producing social bonds that support recovery. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 28, (5: special issue), pp. 475-485. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687637.2021.1933911.

External website: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09687...

Aim: To understand how the social networks of a new recovery community can help sustain recovery, focusing on processes of social identity change, in the context of the wider UK recovery movement. 

Methods: A cross-sectional, mixed-methods social network analysis (SNA) of ego-network sociograms to map network transitions, using retrospective measures. Ten men were recruited from a peer-worker programme, in the South Ayrshire Alcohol and Drug Partnership (ADP), West of Scotland. Network measures were compared between two timepoints, just prior to current recovery and the present time. Measures included size and density, closeness of members, and their positive or negative influence, proportion of alcohol and other drug (AOD) using and recovery peers, and extent of separate subgroups. These were complemented with qualitative interview data. 

Findings: There was a significant transition in network composition, with the replacing of AOD-using peers with recovery peers and a broader transformation from relationships being framed as negative to positive. However, there was no significant transition in network structure, with AOD-using and recovery networks both consisting of strong ties and a similar density of connections between people in the networks. 

Conclusions: The transition in network composition between pre-recovery and the present indicates a different set of social influences, while the similarities in network structure indicate that the recovery network replaced the role of the using network in providing close bonds. This helped reduce social isolation experienced in early-recovery and provided a pathway into more structured opportunities for volunteering and employment.

Item Type
Publication Type
International, Open Access, Article
Drug Type
All substances
Intervention Type
Treatment method, Rehabilitation/Recovery
Identification #
Page Range
pp. 475-485
5: special issue

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