We continue to mine the research wisdom of William L White on the next few blogs. William White is one of a growing number of researchers looking into recovery. This is an oft neglected part of research although we are beginning to see research into the neurobiology of recovery as we have discussed in various other blogs.
William White takes a more qualitative approach than our previous research blogs. It is important to marry quantitative and qualitative research moving forward. For example, William White makes an important point about durability of recover, i.e. at what point (or how long does it take for) recovery to be considered durable?
Is there a period at which we can say these individuals in recovery will most likely continue to stay in recovery long term?
From a quantitative perspective it would be illuminating to image the brain of these individuals at say 5 years and compare to early recovery brain images to show what functions of the brain improve, what neurobiology is replenished (balanced) which neural networks are connected or reconnected via altered behaviour-based neuroplasticity etc.
Everyone should have access to information on the processes involved in getting well, what this wellness looks like and how to get there. If you went to your doctor about any other illness or condition you would expect some information about treatment, likely chances of treatment success, likely outcomes of treatment and how you are likely to be in the long term. So why not have this information available in relation to addictive behaviour recovery?
Anyway on with next video on the experience of recovery.
There appear to be three types of recovery identity according to William White’s research
Positive – extremely enthusiastic about being in recovery and want everyone to know that they are in recovery!! I can relate to this I’m afraid. Especially int he earlier months of recovery when I was converting the world to the 12 step world of spiritual awakening!! The preaching phase of my recovery.
Negative – In recovery but deeply ashamed about being in recovery because of the social stigma related to having the disease of addiction.
Interpersonal Styles of Recovery
Acultural – individuals who initiate and sustain recovery without relationships with other people in recovery.
Bi cultural – can move within distinct cultures of recovery but can also function quite comfortably with “normies”or “earthlings” i.e. normal people at large in society.
Culturally enmeshed – deeply enmeshed within the culture of recovery. They live within the culture of recovery so much and so exclusively that they have almost no contact with the mainstream culture. This is not unusual in early recovery but may not be encouraged in much later recovery.