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A grounded theory of volition in recovery from substance abuse

Kathryn Joan Speck, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this qualitative investigation was to develop a model to understand the processes of persistence in recovery from substance abuse. This model is grounded in the data, and it is hoped that it will have significance in understanding how change is integrated in the lives of addicted people. ^ The research provides a model for understanding the phenomenon of change processes of fifteen men and women in a Midwest city who have maintained their recovery for over five years. The depth and richness of the participant responses are woven throughout the study to give a picture that conceptualizes the context and strategies used to sustain recovery. The goal was to understand the reality of implementing and persisting in recovery and what protection factors mediate competing influences in abstaining from alcohol or drugs. The study has tied literature on motivation from the field of education and the recent motivational constructs from addiction literature to understand how goals and intention are protected. ^ The data was gathered through two sets of interviews and a reflection group using a grounded theory research methodology. The results show that maintaining recovery from alcohol and drugs is a volitional process that involves comprehensive intrapersonal and interpersonal developments in cognitive, physical, spiritual, and affective realms. To maintain abstinence, repair of problem areas, recognition of trigger points, setting appropriate boundaries, and involvement with supportive mentors assists in the ability to move toward regeneration, receive the rewards of hope, and gain peace through wisdom. The results will have implication for the prevention field, the treatment field, criminal justice, and employee assistance programs and industry. ^

Subject Area

Education, Guidance and Counseling|Psychology, Developmental|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Recommended Citation

Speck, Kathryn Joan, "A grounded theory of volition in recovery from substance abuse" (2002). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3045536.