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SOME PRACTICAL ASPECTS OF RECOVERY Jo Neale 1, Sarah Nettleton 2, Lucy Pickering 3 & Glenda Daniels 4 1 Department of Social Work & Public Health, Oxford.

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Presentation on theme: "SOME PRACTICAL ASPECTS OF RECOVERY Jo Neale 1, Sarah Nettleton 2, Lucy Pickering 3 & Glenda Daniels 4 1 Department of Social Work & Public Health, Oxford."— Presentation transcript:

1 SOME PRACTICAL ASPECTS OF RECOVERY Jo Neale 1, Sarah Nettleton 2, Lucy Pickering 3 & Glenda Daniels 4 1 Department of Social Work & Public Health, Oxford Brookes University 2 Department of Sociology, University of York 3 Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Applied Social Sciences, University of Glasgow 4 Oxfordshire User Team

2 THE PLAN FOR TODAY 1.Jo will present some findings from a recent study (15 mins) 2.Glenda will respond to the presentation (10 mins) 3.Glenda will lead an interesting & exciting discussion, with everyone participating (35 mins) 4.At 3pm, we will drink tea & eat biscuits

3 THE STUDY  “A sociological investigation into the everyday lives of recovering heroin users” (funded by the ESRC)  Practical aspects of recovery  Bodily aspects of recovery  Eating (& weight)  Sleeping  Physical activity/ exercising

4 WHY FOCUS ON THE PRAGMATICS OF RECOVERY?  Increasingly, drug services are adopting a more holistic approach to treatment, rehabilitation & recovery  E.g. counselling, housing, education, training & employment, psycho-social interventions, life skills training  Despite this, we still often ignore everyday practical & bodily functions  E.g. eating, sleeping, physical activity/ exercise etc.

5 WORKSHOP QUESTIONS 1.What are drug users’ experiences of eating, sleeping & physical activity as they begin their treatment & recovery journeys? 2.How might service providers better help recovering drug users with these very practical aspects of recovery?

6 METHODS  Initial interviews with 40 individuals (21 males & 19 females; ages 24-50 years)  10 x heroin users starting OST  10 x heroin users beginning a detox  10 x heroin users entering rehab  10 x ex-heroin users  Follow up interviews with 37 individuals after 3 months (20 males & 17 females)  Total = 77 in-depth interviews

7 FINDINGS  Distinction between ‘active use’ & ‘recovery’ is made because our participants make this distinction  However, we realise that there is no clear boundary between ‘active use’ & ‘recovery’

8 EATING 1.During active drug use:  Food choices: cheap; quick; sweet; caffeinated  Appetite: generally poor; sometimes erratic  Eating patterns: not always every day; irregular times; often late  Barriers to eating: incl. drugs, depression; homelessness; limited cooking facilities; lack of money 2.In recovery:  Food choices: more variety, incl. fruit & veg; less sweet & caffeinated foods; vitamins & weight gainers; home-cooked meals  Appetite: difficult to eat initially; generally appetite soon returns  Eating patterns: More regular; may initially use shakes & protein drinks; may need to build up to several meals a day  Eating enablers: interest in learning to cook (& food shop); cooking & eating with others; access to cooking facilities; money

9 EATING “I’m taking more notice of what I eat… I’m not just wolfing it down. I’m trying to taste it now instead of just eating for the sake of eating… I’m eating better than I was. When I was on the methadone, my appetite was quite sporadic. I’d eat and then I wouldn’t, but now I’m hungry every day.” (Edward, aged 34) “I’m still drinking sugar, a sugar in my tea, coffee, but I have a lot less tea now. I don’t know why. I suppose I drink a lot more water, just aware of it.” (Tony, aged 34)

10 WEIGHT 1. During active drug use:  Weight generally goes down  Weight is not much of a concern or consideration (complicated by eating disorders) 2. In recovery:  Weight generally increases, often quickly & significantly  Weight gain is generally considered to be positive by men (although there is concern about becoming ‘chubby’)  Weight gain by women can be a real source of concern

11 WEIGHT “I’ve put on weight already, which is amazing… The comments saying, ‘Oh God, you’re looking good, you’re looking healthy’. That gives me motivation [to stay clean], severe motivation.” (Liam, aged 37) “The last few weeks I feel that I’ve put on too much weight… I’d be happy to lose half a stone I reckon and then I’ll be OK. No, actually I want to be lighter than that. See what I mean? I’m never going to be happy.” (Bess, aged 31)

12 SLEEPING 1.During active drug use:  Frequent sleeping problems relating to drug & non-drug factors 2.In recovery:  Sleeping problems exacerbated during detoxification – especially inability to sleep, restless legs & vivid dreaming  Efforts to improve sleeping are often assisted by the structured environment of residential services  Sleeping problems can persist in recovery but improvements seem to occur over time

13 SLEEPING “I never used to go to sleep until the early hours in the morning, if I did go to sleep at all. And then I’d be all like sketchy because I didn’t, you know, I was so tired, hadn’t eaten. And when you don’t eat, you’re weak anyway, aren’t you? Plus the drugs on top of that. I was just a mess, total, total mess.” (Bess, aged 31) “I mean I had my first night’s sleep without interruption about a week ago. So it’s took like three months of waking… Like from like half eleven until half six. It was wicked. Opened my eyes, there was light coming through the curtains. I thought, ‘Oh my God, it’s happened like’, do know what I mean? It’s just another thing I can tick off that I’ve done.” (Elliott, aged 32)

14 PHYSICAL ACTIVITY 1.During active drug use:  Not wholly inactive: walking & cycling  Limited structured or organised exercise 2.In recovery:  Increased physical activity: old & new types of exercise taken up  Recognised benefits: incl. distraction from drugs; stress release; enjoyment; social; self-worth; weight loss; feel good; routine; something to look forward to  Recognised barriers: incl. poor motivation; low confidence; cost

15 PHYSICAL ACTIVITY “I wouldn’t have dreamed of going to aerobics… [I] get excited about going to aerobics now. Just that adrenaline of getting that sweat out of you, knowing you’ve actually done a workout… I feel good about myself after I’ve done it, to know that I’ve done some exercise.” (Sorayha, aged 31) “I exercise much more now and I find that really helps with stress and depression, just helps me feel more alive I suppose.” (Charlie, aged 31)

16 IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE  Eating: provide healthy food options in residential services & prisons; discuss diet, nutrition; offer recipes & cookery advice; encourage food as both a therapeutic & social activity  Weight: be alert to weight changes & eating disorders; provide or refer to formal & informal counselling/ support  Sleeping: advise on the effects of caffeine, the benefits of exercise & good sleep hygiene; provide decaffeinated & herbal drinks  Physical activity: encourage drug users to think about physical activity in its broadest sense (walking is good transport & healthy exercise); offer opportunities for exercise whenever possible (e.g. sports/ exercise classes); identify local facilities where drug users are welcomed & might have free or reduced entrance charges

17 REFERENCES  Neale, J., Nettleton, S., Pickering, L. and Fischer, J. (in press) 'Eating patterns amongst heroin users: a qualitative study with implications for nutritional interventions', Addiction.  Nettleton, S., Neale, J. and Pickering, L. (in press) ‘Techniques and transitions: a sociological analysis of sleeping practices amongst recovering heroin users’, Social Science and Medicine.  Neale, J., Nettleton, S. and Pickering, L. (in press) ‘Heroin users’ views and experiences of physical activity, sport and exercise’, International Journal of Drug Policy.

18 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS  Economic and Social Research Council: for funding our research  40 research participants: for generously giving of their time & sharing their views & experiences  Countless service providers: for assisting with study recruitment


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