• Humor & Opioid Recovery

      Canha, Benjamin; Scrandis, Debra (2019)
      Abstract Background: The prevalence and mortality rates of opioid use disorders (OUD) have drastically increased in recent years in the United States. Narcotics Anonymous (N.A.) is a successful behavioral program supporting recovery for individuals with OUD. Humor may play an important role in maintaining group involvement and continuing support within the culture of the N.A. program. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to understand the ideas, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors of humor in individuals recovering from OUD who are participating in the N.A. program. Design: Qualitative ethnography design was used with three types of complementary data collection methods: observations at meetings and social gatherings, personal interviews, and a focus group session. Results: Instances of humor between N.A. members were noted in observations. Recorded one-on-one interviews with ten members recovering from OUD provided details of various experiences of humor and led to development of five essential themes: Feels Good, Social, Lighten Up, Healing and Alienate. These findings highlight the mostly positive personal and social benefits participants experienced, as well as possible negative effects. A focus group of seven N.A. members provided interactive discussion of humor and discussed the need to become more conscientious of the detrimental effects of humor. Conclusion: The implications of this study suggest the need to explore various humor interventions to assess their relative effectiveness in enhancing recovering, and reducing relapses. Due to the small number of participants, results may not be generalizable to all those with OUD in N.A. or represent the possibly wide range of N.A. meetings. This study added to the depth of knowledge about the effects of humor on this population and their recovery process. The importance of humor and having fun in the recovery of OUD should be more widely recognized by nurses as they help those with OUD, as humor definitely has a role to play in supporting N.A. members’ recovery from OUD.