Successful Substance Use Disorder Recovery in Transitional Housing: Perspectives From African American Women

Emma Krueger, Emily Deal, Alexa A. Lopez, Anne E. Dressel, Maria Del Carmen Graf, Marin Schmitt, Maren Hawkins, Belinda Pittman, Peninnah Kako, Lucy Mkandawire-Valhmu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Through the lens of Black Feminist Thought, the intersectionality of poverty, racism, and sexism in the lives of urban dwelling African American women was explored. Reflections on recovery among women previously enrolled in a transitional housing treatment program were gathered via semistructured interviews, using an instrumental case study design. Four major themes surrounding the context of recovery were identified and analyzed: Knowledge and awareness of addiction, importance of social support and support groups, peace of mind that resulted from a new lifestyle, and women’s desire to maintain their recovery status. Many women did not realize that their drug use constituted an addiction prior to their enrollment in the program. Social support and support groups such as AA, NA, and AODA helped the women to maintain their recovery, and this newfound recovery resulted in additional stress relief. Finally, many women felt empowered to maintain their recovery, not only for themselves but also their children. Paradigm shifts in treatment and recovery processes are needed to better serve minority populations, specifically focusing on women and African Americans. Recovery services must shift from previously male centered, hegemonic, pathology-oriented treatment modalities to serve populations more efficiently and equitably. Furthermore, to create effective social change in recovery, programs must address the social determinants of substance misuse, addictive behaviors, and underlying structural inequalities resulting from the intersection of racism, sexism, and classism. Deeper understandings of complex social issues must be disseminated, particularly for women battling substance misuse who are homeless, racially discriminated against and marginalized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)714-724
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 24 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
A Social Compact Grant from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee provided financial support for this research. This funding support had no other involvement in the research aside from financial support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Psychological Association


  • Black feminist thought
  • Black women
  • Complex recovery themes
  • Transitional housing treatment

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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