Bahram Edward Kaikhosrow Shahrokh, Psy.D., is a 2019 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Santa Barbara.
Dr. Bahram Edward Sharrokh
Brett Kia-Keating, Ed.D Committee Chair
Ron Pilato, Psy.D Committee Member
Janice Stimson, Psy.D External Expert
12-step, addiction, alcohol use disorder, alcoholism, comorbid, dual diagnosis, evidence based, long-term sobriety, medication, mental health, old-timer, opioid, qualitative, recovery, relapse, substance abuse, substance use disorder, trauma, treatment
While psychiatric medications have been categorized as the same as substances of abuse in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), medications for common medical disorders were not affected by this disapproval of medication. It may be time for a new dialogue (Woody, 2015). According to Gjersing and Bretteville (2018), there has been a concerning increase in overdose deaths in the last decade. This includes a threefold increase in overdose deaths from prescription narcotics and six-fold increase in overdose deaths from heroin in the United States. When prescription opioid users find difficulty in obtaining pills, they may move on to heroin, which is much more readily available on the streets, in an effort to avoid painful opioid withdrawal. For this study, individuals who had previously achieved long-term abstinence from alcohol or substance use but relapsed after a significant amount of time sober were interviewed in order to better understand their experience with relapse as well as their experience returning to at least partial remission. Thematic analysis was conducted on interview data. The results from this phenomenological analysis of interviews with eight participants identified several themes regarding the experience of being a long-timer, relapsing after a substantial amount of time abstinent, and challenges to as well as factors in returning to AA. These themes are organized as long-term recovery, relapse, and a new beginning. Long-term recovery is further explored as acute treatment only, treatment did not utilize evidence-based interventions, treatment did not address emotional issues, contact with mental health, long-timer, and complacency and drifting. Relapse is further explored as medical issues, new trauma, and justification of the use of medication or marijuana. A new beginning is further explored as recovery challenges such as feelings of ostracism, age-related issues, and shame as well as recovery factors such as finding acceptance and love within the fellowship, cognitive reframing, and re-engaging the program with enthusiasm. This Dissertation is available on Open Access at AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive, http://aura.antioch.edu and OhioLink ETD Center, http://www.ohiolink.edu/etd
Shahrokh, B. K. (2019). The Experience of Relapse After Long-Term Sobriety and Subsequent Return to Sobriety. https://aura.antioch.edu/etds/544