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The everyday lives of recovering heroin users.


Joanne Neale, Sarah Nettleton, Lucy Pickering

Type: Article
Region: Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland

The RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce): an enlightenment organisation committed to finding innovative practical solutions to todayâ?Ts social challenges. This book draws upon a recently completed study to provide unique insights into the everyday lives of recovering heroin users. By reporting the actual words of our study participants, we have tried to produce an accessible resource for those who want to understand how recovery is really experienced from the perspectives of drug users themselves. The main intended audience for the book is drug workers and professionals working in the addiction field. However, the material presented should also be of interest to other health, social care and criminal justice professionals, drug users (both those in recovery and those contemplating recovery), their family members, policy makers, academics and interested lay readers. Chapter 1: Setting the scene 14 â?¢ Why read this book? 14 â?¢ Why focus on recovery? 15 â?¢ What is recovery? 15 â?¢ A study of the everyday lives of recovering heroin users 17 â?¢ Structure of the book 18 Chapter 2: Considering recovery 20 â?¢ Introduction 20 â?¢ Mapping services and support 20 â?¢ Factors that can encourage and sustain recovery efforts 25 â?¢ Barriers to recovery 29 â?¢ Summary 31 Chapter 3: Treatment experiences 33 â?¢ Introduction 33 â?¢ Methadone madness 33 â?¢ Substituting with Subutex 36 â?¢ The demands of detox 38 â?¢ Recovery through rehabilitation 40 â?¢ Progressing with peer support 46 â?¢ Summary 48 Chapter 4: Coming off drugs 49 â?¢ Introduction 49 â?¢ The process of detoxification 49 â?¢ Understanding â?~rattlingâ?T, â?~cluckingâ?T and â?~withdrawingâ?T 49 â?¢ Withdrawal symptoms 51 â?¢ Managing detoxification 53 â?¢ Cravings 54 â?¢ Lapses, relapses and prevention strategies 57 â?¢ (Re)lapse triggers 58 â?¢ Preventing (re)lapse 59 â?¢ Cross addicting 62 â?¢ Smoking tobacco 64 â?¢ Summary 66 Chapter 5: (Re)building relationships 68 â?¢ Introduction 68 â?¢ Childhood relationships 68 â?¢ Adult relationships with birth family members 71 â?¢ Strained family relationships 71 â?¢ Supportive family relationships 72 â?¢ Relationships with partners and spouses 75 â?¢ Parenting 78 â?¢ Friendships 81 â?¢ Pets 83 â?¢ Summary 84 Chapter 6: Emotional changes 86 â?¢ Introduction 86 â?¢ Comfortably numb 86 â?¢ Returning emotions during detoxification and early recovery 88 â?¢ Managing emerging emotions 93 â?¢ Finding a level 97 â?¢ Summary 101 Chapter 7: Bodily adjustments 102 â?¢ Introduction 102 â?¢ Weight change 102 â?¢ On the scales 102 â?¢ Feelings about weight change 104 â?¢ Bowel functioning 107 â?¢ Libido changes 110 â?¢ Tasting, smelling, hearing and seeing the difference 112 â?¢ Menstruation 113 â?¢ Summary 115 Chapter 8: Health and illness 117 â?¢ Introduction 117 â?¢ Blood borne viruses (BBVs) 117 â?¢ Getting tested 117 â?¢ Contracting hepatitis C 118 â?¢ Drug-related accidents and injuries 120 â?¢ Chest and lung complaints 121 â?¢ Dental problems 123 â?¢ Non-drug related health problems 125 â?¢ Aches and pains 126 â?¢ Colds and flu 127 â?¢ Mental health 128 â?¢ Summary 132 Chapter 9: Day-to-day self care 134 â?¢ Introduction 134 â?¢ Eating 134 â?¢ Eating on heroin 134 â?¢ Eating as heroin use reduces 138 â?¢ Sleeping 140 â?¢ Struggling to sleep 140 â?¢ Sleeping in recovery 142 â?¢ Personal hygiene and appearance 146 â?¢ Keeping clean and presentable on drugs 146 â?¢ Hygiene and appearance in recovery 149 â?¢ Summary 151 Chapter 10: Keeping house 153 â?¢ Introduction 153 â?¢ Living arrangements 153 â?¢ Moving around and settling down 153 â?¢ Experiences of homelessness 155 â?¢ Being housed 157 â?¢ Doing domesticity 160 â?¢ Managing income and expenditure 162 â?¢ Paid work and benefits 163 â?¢ Income generating crime 164 â?¢ Supplementary income and benefits in kind 164 â?¢ Financial outgoings 165 â?¢ Money management 167 â?¢ Summary 170 Chapter 11: Filling the void 172 â?¢ Introduction 172 â?¢ Dealing with boredom 172 â?¢ Working towards recovery 176 â?¢ Education and training 176 â?¢ Paid jobs and voluntary work 178 â?¢ Hobbies and interests 181 â?¢ Chilling 181 â?¢ Being physically active 182 â?¢ Exercising the mind 183 â?¢ Being creative 185 â?¢ Being sociable 185 â?¢ Managing a social life 186 â?¢ Summary 187 Chapter 12: Thinking about the future 189 â?¢ Introduction 189 â?¢ One day at a time 189 â?¢ Hopes and goals 190 â?¢ Being clean 190 â?¢ Getting a job 191 â?¢ Rebuilding relationships 192 â?¢ Setting up home 194 â?¢ Doing nice things 194 â?¢ Owning material possessions 195 â?¢ Finding happiness 195 â?¢ Fears and concerns 196 â?¢ Relapsing and returning to old behaviours 196 â?¢ Work worries 196 â?¢ Family concerns 197 â?¢ Housing and loneliness 198 â?¢ Being in debt 198 â?¢ Being unwell 198 â?¢ Wanting to be normal 199 â?¢ A family, a home and some possessions 199 â?¢ Work and everyday activities 199 â?¢ Emotions and body functioning 200 â?¢ Drug use 201 â?¢ Change and growth 202 â?¢ Increased awareness of self and others 202 â?¢ Becoming moral 203 â?¢ Increasing self-control and reduced anger 204 â?¢ Feeling happier 204 â?¢ Growing up 205



Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Joanne Neale, Sarah Nettleton, Lucy Pickering. (2012) The everyday lives of recovering heroin users. [Online]. Available from: [Accessed: 19th November 2019].


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