International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction

, Volume 12, Issue 4, pp 477-490

First online:

‘Finding Your Own Place’: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Young Men’s Experience of Early Recovery from Addiction

  • Lymarie RodriguezAffiliated withDepartment of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck University of London Email author 
  • , Jonathan A. SmithAffiliated withDepartment of Psychological Sciences, Birkbeck University of London

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Young adults are significantly more likely to experience problematic substance use than mature adults. Identity transformation is known to be a key feature of mature adult recovery, but for the culturally distinct young adult demographic, the links between their identity and their recovery from addiction have not been well investigated. This paper presents a qualitative study on young men’s experience of recovery in Narcotics Anonymous. Processes of change and identity transformation in early recovery are under particular focus. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with four young adult men and the resultant transcripts were subjected to interpretative phenomenological analysis. The results section gives a detailed account of these processes; the findings are then considered in relation to extant literature. The posited suggestion is that through examining the participants’ experience of recovery we can better understand their self-change in light of their journey as young men; proper understanding of which is essential for the creation of intervention programmes that consider the developmental challenges of early adulthood today.


Young adults Early recovery Narcotics anonymous Interpretative phenomenological analysis