Friends & social contacts
A challenge throughout many of the participants’ recovery pathways is (re-)connecting with meaningful others. Their experiences uncover the ambiguous nature of these (un)conditional connections, which can simultaneously have positive and negative meanings. For many participants it’s been liberating to experience that some of their life struggles are not exclusively connected to their recovery. Within these experiences there are however very specific dynamics in relation to womanhood and motherhood.
THERE ARE THREE CENTRAL TOPICS IN 'BECOMING (RE-)CONNECTED'
The honest animal
An interesting topic or metaphor is the connection with pets. Having pets can bring a positive meaning to the day-to-day life of being in recovery. You have to take care of them, and they often motivate you to go outside. But more than that, they reflect the complex nature of connecting with other humans. Animals do not judge and give unconditional love. This means that the unconditional connection with pets has a symbolic meaning of how people in recovery would love to connect to others. This, however, is not always possible and can be very complex.
(Un)ambiguous family relations
Another crucial element in the recovery processes of our participants is how to (re-)connect with family. Several participants have acknowledged how difficult it can be for families to be part of the recovery process. Some participants experienced an almost unconditional acceptance from their family towards who they are and what they’re going through, while others experienced that there is no room for error. The latter could be both motivational and stressful.
Woman- & motherhood
In relation to womanhood and motherhood, the participants express very specific expectations and dynamics. As stated before, women do share the experience that they are looked down upon more than men regarding drug use and addiction. There are ambiguous expectations and there is judgment towards women in recovery. It is expected, as a woman, to conceive or have children while at the same time mothers in recovery are scrutinized. It’s an impossible position to be in.