Sober houses : the role of the environment in aiding recovering from addiction : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
There is a need for a deeper understanding of the role that the environment plays in an individual’s addiction to substances and in aiding recovery from addiction. The aim of the present study is to investigate the impacts the environment has on individual attempts at recovering from substance addiction, by learning from residents of sober-houses. Sober-houses are substance-free living environments for persons attempting to abstain from alcohol or drugs. Qualitative methodologies were employed, with an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) approach, to take into account the subjective individual differences between residents. A sample of five participants was drawn from residents of a sober-house to participate in semi-structured interviews. The results showed that the most significant impacts on addiction recovery occur with the domain of the social and physical environments. Participants were shown to be able to benefit from physically distancing themselves from destructive environments, and that positive social influences play important roles in the promotion of a sober life-style.