Fri från narkotika : om kvinnor och män som har varit narkotikamissbrukare
Sammanfattning: The two aims of the study are to describe and analyse: i) how drug abusers have transformed their lives from the time when they did not use drugs, to becoming drug abusers, and finally leaving drugs behind them; and ii) what it means to be socially integrated with one's experience of having been a drug abuser. The study builds on qualitative research interviews with seven women and seven men. With symbolic interactionism as the point of departure the interviewees' lives are described and discussed as existential, meaning-creating processes characterised by modulations in the meaning they have given their lives.Most of the interviewees have grown up under disadvantageous conditions. They began using drugs in adolescence. Over time their lives became very difficult to the point that they occasionally questioned their lives as drug abusers. The interviewees faced serious situations when they decided to leave the drug abuse life. No matter what motives they describe for beginning to change their lives, their decisions were influenced partly by negative social consequences generated by drug abuse, and partly by positive social changes. Most of the interviewees went through institutional treatment to cease drug abuse. But their experiences of treatment can be regarded as a part of a prolonged change process which is influenced by many other factors outside of the treatment context. Today the interviewees live "normal lives". They are working or studying. The family is an important part of their lives. Most of them are engaged in different organisations, for example sport clubs, political parties, or Narcotics Anonymous.The fact that they succeed in ceasing drug abuse and today are leaving "normal lives" can not be explained by the possibility that they as group were better equipped socially, by hereditary, or by acquired characteristics, than people who continue to use drugs. Rather, changes in their existential conditions made it possible for them to cease drug abuse. Of decisive meaning was that they took part in social contexts where they built relationships to people who gave them confidence and who were able to see and meet the interviewees during their initial fragile striving for change. The interviewees ambivalence and insecurity about building a life without drugs was reduced by the fact that they felt acceptance and respect from people who assumed the interviewees had resources and knowledge that were important for living "normal lives".
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