An Integrated Narrative Approach to Understand Relapse Among Methamphetamine Polydrug User

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology, Concentration in Counseling Psychology (Thesis Program)



First Advisor

Nico A. Canoy, PhD


The reality of relapse in addiction recovery complicates our understanding in the implementation of clinical interventions and drug policies. Attempts to elucidate the relapse process have given preponderance on individualistic framing of change and broader socioeconomic determinants. Using a harm reduction perspective, we can begin to better understand how relapsing behaviors are socially situated and how these risk environments influence individual agency. Utilizing 17 narratives from male methamphetamine (MA) polydrug users coming from the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum, I have delineated three major storylines: drug use as a „way of life,‟ relapse as enacting „crippled‟ agency, and a cyclic narrative of rehabilitation and community reintegration. Implications on creating drug policies and clinical interventions grounded on harm reduction approaches such as context-based clinical interventions are discussed.

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