Alcoholism : understanding natural recovery.
This qualitative study explored the process of recovery from alcoholism as experienced by individuals who recovered from alcoholism without formal treatment or intervention. This study sought to reveal those factors that initiated recovery and those that maintained and supported it, including some of the strategies and skills used by respondents in self-resolution of their alcoholism. Limitations of the study are discussed, as are the requirements for future studies of natural recovery. It is hoped that understanding some of the natural processes involved in recovery from alcoholism may lead to developing more informed and creative treatment approaches which will harness the strengths, knowledges and abilities of individuals. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 25 participants and their families across a broad range of age, gender, race and socio-economic status. Participants were selected from those individuals who responded to an article in the daily newspapers in Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. South Africa and who fitted the criteria of being alcoholics who had achieved two or more years of sobriety without formal treatment. This study seemed to indicate that natural recovery was the preferred choice of some individuals struggling with an alcohol problem. This choice appeared to have been made because of negative associations with and perceptions of treatment, combined with a belief in the individual's ability to solve their own problems. Reasons for stopping varied, but seemed to be underpinned by a process of cognitive self-evaluation that precipitated abstinence. Maintenance of sobriety was achieved by a variety of skill s, strategies and processes that corresponded, in the main, with similar international studies. There appears to be a strong relationship with spirituality in all stages of the natural recovery process. Finally. it appeared that individuals who possess a variety of personal and social resources appeared to be best suited to and equipped for the natural recovery process, although some exceptions were noted.