Recovered addicts working in the addiction field: Pitfalls to substance abuse relapse
In the 1940s, due to a shortage of professional counselors, combined with the hope of rehabilitation for the addict, there grew a belief that the recovered alcoholic could be trained to enter the field of addiction treatment as a paraprofessional.
These early stages of addiction treatment and the emergence of the recovered substance abuser as a counselor fostered a discussion in the role played by the paraprofessional. This discussion subsequently encouraged an accumulation of literature during the early stages of substance abuse treatment in North America, which later began to diminish as the field moved forward towards the twenty-first century.
This paper reviews the literature to examine the perceived potential risks for relapse associated with recovered addicts working in the addictions field.
Potential risks for relapse discussed are
- the ex-addict’s motivation for entering the addiction field,
- personal help from self-help groups may be lost once in the field,
- over involvement with clients,
- over involvement with work,
- over identification with clients and the
- repercussions of relapse.
The paper also addresses the limitations of the studies conducted to date, provides recommendations for further research and proposes that this topic be explored using a qualitative approach, so that recovered counselors can construct their own narratives.
Drugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy; 2010, Vol. 17, No. 3, Pages 216-231. Nick Doukas , Jim Cullen