The Elephant That No One Sees: Natural Recovery among Middle-Class Addicts

Journal of drug issues (Impact Factor: 0.38). 12/1996; 26(1):45-61. DOI: 10.1177/002204269602600104


Examined the characteristics of middle-class alcoholics and drug addicts who terminated their addictions without the benefit of treatment. Using what is commonly referred to as natural recovery processes, respondents terminated their addictions without formal treatment or self-help group assistance. Data for this study were based on in-depth interviews with 46 alcoholics and drug addicts. The postaddict identities of the Ss were examined to see how they viewed themselves in relation to their addictive past. Their reasons for avoiding treatment and self-help groups were also explored, as were factors in the Ss' lives that promoted natural recovery. Relevance for clinical treatment and social policy are examined. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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    • "Best and Laudet (2010) identify these resources as 'recovery capital', that is, social, human, physical, and cultural capital required to support attempts at natural recovery. Granfield and Cloud (1996) interviewed 46 individuals who personally identified with the process of natural recovery through their cessation of AOD, finding that they often relied on extensive resources in respect of relationships, family support, and education and employment. Most of the interviewees in Granfield and Cloud's study were described as economically stable and did not associate with social networks based on AOD use. "
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    ABSTRACT: In 1962, Charles Winick proposed that addiction was a self-limiting process, whereby individuals stopped using substances once the stresses of life transitions ceased. The notion of maturing out, as labelled by Winick, often forms the basis of the natural recovery movement in alcohol and other drug (AOD) research, aiding the notion that older individuals either cease their substance use or fall victim to the higher mortality rates prevalent in substance-using populations. As more consumers present to adult mental health treatment settings with co-occurring substance use disorders, the idea that individuals will simply cease using AOD is outdated. Given the future challenges of an ageing population, it is prudent to explore those who fail to mature out of substance use, as well as challenge the notion that older adult mental health services rarely encounter substance-using individuals. The present study explores Winick's research in the context of an ageing population and older adult mental health services. It also ponders the proposition put forth in subsequent research that older individuals with lifelong substance use switch to substances that are easier to obtain and better tolerated by their ageing bodies. © 2015 Australian College of Mental Health Nurses Inc.
    International journal of mental health nursing 09/2015; DOI:10.1111/inm.12143 · 1.95 Impact Factor
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    • "The transformation of the drug-using self and/or the creation or empowering of competing identities is frequently a project in individual psychotherapy. Many, if not most people, with addictions who recover on their own do so by finding social settings or identity niches that will support other identities (Biernacki, 1986; Granfield & Cloud, 1996, 2001; Kellogg, 1994). Last, harm reduction settings also have the potential to provide new identity possibilities that can lead to dramatic decreases in drug use (Zibbell, 2005) and, perhaps, initiate a journey of change and healing. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article is focused on improving the quality of addiction treatment. Based on observations that patients are leaving treatment too early and/or are continuing to use substances during their care, the authors propose six actions that could help reorient and revitalize this kind of clinical work: (1) conceptualize and treat addictive disorders within a psychiatric/mental health framework; (2) make the creation of a strong therapeutic alliance a core part of the healing process; (3) understand patients' addictions and other problems using models based on multiple internal parts, voices, or modes; (4) make contingency management and the use of positive reinforcement systems a standard and central practice in all treatment settings; (5) envision long-term change and healing through the lens of identity theory; and (6) integrate the growing developments in recovery culture with formal treatment.
    Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly 01/2012; 30(1):109-128. DOI:10.1080/07347324.2012.635544
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    • "Prior research focused on predicting untreated versus treated remission among mixed-aged convenience samples has found that problem drinkers who later attain remission without treatment often have less severe drinking problem histories, fewer health deficits, and more benign and helpful life contexts than those who attain remission with treatment (Granfield and Cloud, 1996; Tucker et al., 2003). Given such a pre-remission profile, untreated remitters might be expected to continue to display healthier functioning and life contexts in the post-remission period (Tucker and Gladsjo, 1993). "
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the post-remission status of older remitted problem drinkers who achieved stable remission without treatment. The post-remission drinking behavior, health-related functioning, life context, coping, and help-seeking of older, untreated (n=330) and treated (n=120) former problem drinkers who had been remitted for a minimum of 6 years were compared twice over the course of 6 years to each other and to lifetime nonproblem drinkers (n=232). Analyses considered the impact of severity of drinking problem history. Untreated remitters were more likely than treated remitters to continue to drink, exhibited fewer chronic health problems and less depressive symptomatology, and were less likely to smoke. Untreated remitters' life contexts were somewhat more benign than those of treated ones, and they were less likely to describe a coping motive for drinking and engage in post-remission help-seeking. Although untreated remitters more closely resembled lifetime nonproblem drinkers than did treated remitters, both untreated and treated remitter groups exhibited worse health-related functioning, more financial and interpersonal stressors, and more post-remission help-seeking than did lifetime nonproblem drinkers. Regardless of whether late-life remission was gained without or with treatment, prior drinking problems conveyed a legacy of health-related and life context deficits.
    Drug and alcohol dependence 10/2008; 99(1-3):150-9. DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2008.07.020 · 3.42 Impact Factor
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