Newman, Harmony

Committee Member

Leek, Clifford


Program of Sociology


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



84 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


The number of drug overdose deaths has spiked in recent years, currently at a rate where 142 Americans die from opioid overdose every day (Goodnough 2017). This public health crisis has been framed as an epidemic, and this collective understanding may shape the way individuals and communities experience this tragedy. Few studies, however, have examined how the term success is defined in addiction recovery settings. To investigate language regarding what successful addiction recovery means, this research examined framing strategies in two recovery models, cognitive behavior therapy and shamanic therapeutic mechanisms, and connected them to the practices being employed by practitioners of each method. Further, my study gathered data and analyzed results by comparing and contrasting key terms used in a content analysis and 10 in-depth interviews with practitioners. Results are discussed in light of medicinal practices used and provide a theoretical angle that emphasizes conceptualization and constructionism within systems of beliefs and values (Snow 2008) while focusing specifically on words and terms used in the settings. The language use constructing individuals’ experiences resulted in a greater understanding of the addiction recovery methods helps bridge the gaps between the models and uncovers overarching similarities used in addiction treatment. Through analysis of the various findings, the reader can gain a better understanding of why language in addiction recovery settings matter and ultimately aid in addiction recovery success. Future research should look at whether both models achieve equal success rates and if so, why they are being treated differently by the professional community. The framing processes show us the setting in which one seeks recovery may influence the way terms around success are constructed and an individual’s internal belief system about what successful recovery means.

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Copyright is held by the author.