"I'Ve had too much done to my heart": the dilemma of addiction and recovery as seen through seven youngsters' lives

J Drug Educ. 1999;29(4):309-22. doi: 10.2190/UJFX-RVNH-6769-CPAC.


Aware of the dearth of in-depth studies on recovering adolescent addict/alcoholics, we conducted a year-long qualitative study of seven formerly-addicted youth committed to recovery. The research question was: how do addicted youth become and remain sober? Bending to social stress, including racism and ethnic prejudice, three participants relapsed. However, personal commitment augmented by familial, community, spiritual, and educational support encouraged four to remain sober. Learning from both those who failed and succeeded, the theoretical concepts of surrender, social stress, and resiliency helped to interpret the participants' patterns of response and better understand adolescent recovery.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Nuclear Family / ethnology
  • Nuclear Family / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / ethnology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation*