The lived experiences of recovering Filipino persons who use drugs (PWUDs) without family support

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The Philippines’s war on drugs brought about an influx or people of who use drugs (PWUDs) availing of community-based drug rehabilitation services for treatment. Programs have been created to develop skills to avoid relapse and improve family relations and support throughout the recovery process. However, not all Filipino PWUDs have the immediate presence or active participation of their families. While family support is construed as critical to sustained drug recovery in most existing studies, very few studies looked into this subset of PWUDs. In a Filipino culture wherein one’s family is integral to one’s personal identity, an interpretative phenomenological analysis was conducted to examine the experiences of Filipino PWUDs in recovery without perceived family support. Results present four main themes on the experiences of (1) loss and longing while in recovery, (2) coping, (3) self-improvement, and (4) rekindling, rejoining and restarting social connections. Insights from this study can be used in understanding the Filipino way of coping in the relative absence of one’s kin, reconstructing the role of family support and extending the meaning of family in the recovery of PWUDs, and finding ways to redesign family interventions in the Philippines.