"I Will Not Drink With You Today": A Topic-Guided Thematic Analysis of Addiction Recovery on Reddit
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Recovery from addiction is a journey that requires a lifetime of support from a strong network of peers. Many people seek out this support through online communities, like those on Reddit. However, as these communities developed outside of existing aid groups and medical practice, it is unclear how they enable recovery. Their scale also limits researchers' ability to engage through traditional qualitative research methods. To study these groups, we performed a topic-guided thematic analysis that used machine-generated topic models to purposively sample from two recovery subreddits: r/stopdrinking and r/OpiatesRecovery. We show that these communities provide access to an experienced and accessible support group whose discussions include consequences, reflections, and celebrations, but that also play a distinct metacommunicative role in supporting formal treatment. We discuss how these communities can act as knowledge sources to improve in-person recovery support and medical practice, and how computational techniques can enable HCI researchers to study communities at scale.
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Robert Gauthier, Mary Jean Costello, James Wallace (2022). "I Will Not Drink With You Today": A Topic-Guided Thematic Analysis of Addiction Recovery on Reddit. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/17742