STUDENTS’ LIVED EXPERIENCES IN COLLEGIATE RECOVERY PROGRAMS AT THREE LARGE PUBLIC RESEARCH UNIVERSITIES

Open Access
Author:
Whitney, Jason
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
October 01, 2018
Committee Members:
  • Patrick W. Shannon, Dissertation Advisor
  • Patrick W. Shannon , Committee Chair
  • Rachel Marie Wolkenhauer, Committee Member
  • Margaret Ann Lorah, Committee Member
  • Hobart H Cleveland III, Outside Member
Keywords:
  • Alcohol use
  • addiction
  • addiction recovery
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • alcohol recovery
  • co-curriculum
  • college students
  • collegiate recovery communities
  • collegiate recovery programs
  • cool
  • crystal meth
  • curriculum and instruction
  • discourse theory
  • drug use
  • fraternities
  • Greek life
  • interpretivism
  • millenial
  • narrative
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • New Linguistics
  • phenomenology
  • positioning theory
  • prevention
  • professional-managerial class
  • recovery
  • recovery-oriented systems of care
  • recovery support services
  • self-authorship
  • sociocultural theory
  • student affairs
  • substance use disorder
  • wellness
Abstract:
To better understand the various ways that participation in Collegiate Recovery Programs (CRPs) is reflected in the lived experience of students in recovery and the various ways in which they construct and organize their realities, I interviewed 12 students in Substance Use Disorder (SUD) recovery in CRPs at three academically-recognized universities that are also designated to be “party schools” for clues regarding how students in recovery in CRPs make sense of their pasts, their present-day lives, and their futures. I examined their use of narrative, their use of social and cultural discourses, and the shifting subject positions they adopted, co-opted, and disputed in their ongoing identity construction as individuals in recovery. To capture the students’ voices and the contexts in which their meaning-making occurs, I used Seidman’s (2016) three-interview series for in-depth phenomenological interviewing. I tracked students' shifts through the multiple, overlapping, and contradictory discourses they adopted, and I identified three main discursive themes: Recovery discourses were primarily rooted in the discourses of Alcoholics Anonymous. A second set of discourses instilled an imperative to work towards success, driving students to acquire the prolonged, specialized educations and other qualifications necessary to gain a professional career, to redeem their ruinous use of alcohol and other substances, and to take active measures to mitigate against the dreaded prospect of falling out of what Barbara Ehrenreich (1989) calls the professional-managerial class (PMC). In the third set of discourses, students in CRPs defined and claimed social power for their CRP and helped establish various means for students in recovery to be “cool” in college. Using discourses in creative combinations to make sense of their experience and to (re)position themselves, students in CRPs resisted college discourses that invited them to return to active use of alcohol and other substances. The findings expand upon existing research and can be useful in designing curriculum, instruction, and other structures to better support students in recovery in CRPs.