Exit Double Trouble: A Narrative Approach to the Recovery Process from Addiction and Abuse


  • Lis Bodil Karlsson Karlstad University
  • Ulla Rantakeisu Karlstad University
  • Kirsti Kuusela Karlstad University


alcohol, drugs, exit, Ebaugh, recovery, violence, narrative


The aim of the present article is to provide insight into the recovery process of a former addicted and abused woman, who is now working as a drug therapist.

DESIGN – Data were collected during a four-year period by means of recurring interviews concurrent with research on the procedures of a rehab centre for addicted and abused women.

RESULTS – In the life story presented, the narratives on addiction and abuse are interwoven even if the experiences as far as possible were analysed separately. The recovery process is shown to be a complicated ongoing process, involving different stages of realisation and recognition as well as unprocessed experiences finally acknowledged through the therapist’s encounter with clients in a similar situation.

CONCLUSIONS – The recovery process can be prolonged if professionals do not understand or are unable to analytically separate the drug/alcohol abuse from being a victim of physical abuse and instead solely consider the violence as a consequence of the drug and alcohol abuse. The woman in question still needed to work on earlier destructive and unprocessed experiences because these surfaced and affected her work when she started as a drug therapist.

Author Biographies

Lis Bodil Karlsson, Karlstad University

Social Work Departmen

Ulla Rantakeisu, Karlstad University

Social Work Departmen

Kirsti Kuusela, Karlstad University

Social Work Departmen




Special Issue: Drugs – Drug Use(r) – Drug Market(s)