Conducting a process evaluation of a therapeutic community for alcohol and other drug use
Problem alcohol and other drug use is a biopsychosocial issue; however, treatment and intervention has often overlooked the ‘social’. Social determinants may include poverty, social inequalities, fragmented social bonds, and limited community resources. Recovery involves social processes such as the construction of a new identity and establishment of new routines and ways of living. Social exclusion and stigma present barriers to recovery by preventing individuals from securing a position in mainstream community life.
In recent years, there has been a renewed emphasis on promoting abstinent recovery. This shift has its roots in UK and Scottish government policy changes, but has also manifested in a grassroots ‘recovery movement’, a cultural development whose community-building efforts have created new forms of physical space to engender personal and cultural transformation.
This PhD study researches this recovery movement. More specifically, it evaluates a specific incarnation of the trend: a novel residential therapeutic community founded on the principles of consent, democratisation, and social enterprise.
One aim is to understand how social network transitions can underpin long-term changes in identity and behaviour. As such, we have employed a mixed-methods social network analysis approach, which integrates the use of ego-networks, interviews, questionnaires, and ethnography.