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Pathfinders: Dually Diagnosed Mothers in Recovery

13 December 2002


This phenomenological study examines the psychospiritual aspects of identity transformation in mothers recovering from co-occurring disorders of chemical dependency and mental illness. Six Caucasian women, ages 23 to 43, receiving residential treatment and in early full remission were interviewed. Five of the co-participants have parental responsibility for at least one child and the sixth was pregnant with her first child. Three interrelated domains are discussed: (a) dual-diagnoses recovery, (b) mothering, and (c) spirituality. An understanding of themes emerging from the data suggests each domain has a major defining characteristic: (a) understanding and accepting one's dual diagnoses, (b) creating a new life through self discovery and change, and (c) transforming spiritually from addict to spiritual pilgrim. A self-in-relationship model describes and unifies these themes.


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