Exploring the Stories of Women in Early Recovery Participating in a Drug Court Program: A Narrative Study Using a Musical Chronology and the Emerging Life Song




Waterman, Stacy Perez

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Women with substance use disorder often experience the consequences of addiction differently than their male counterparts. This qualitative study aimed to explore the experiences of women in early recovery participating in a drug court program. The author utilized a music-informed narrative methodology based on a counseling intervention, A Musical Chronology and the Emerging Life Song, to examine the stories of women in early recovery. Nine participants described four phases of their recovery journeys: 1) active addiction, 2) bottoming out event and turning point, 3) current recovery, and 4) hopes for the future. The music-informed narrative, guided by concepts from relational cultural theory (RCT) and social constructivism, was utilized to analyze individual narratives. Emergent themes from the individual analysis provided a basis for the group analysis, from which a cumulative recovery narrative and musical chronology synthesis was established. Implications for the counseling profession and recommendations for future research are included.


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Music, Narrative, Recovery, Relational cultural theory, Substance Use Disorder, Women