Cultural connection and transformation: substance abuse treatment at Friendship House.

This research investigates the transformational experiences of Native Americans during the course of their retraditionalization and treatment for drug and alcohol dependence. Twelve graduates of the residential treatment program at Friendship House in San Francisco were interviewed about the kind and quality of their healing experiences in this particular program which provides a comprehensive matrix of Native American medicine as well as Western models of psychological treatment. The purpose of this study was to understand and document the experience of substance abuse recovery from the perspective of the Native Americans in treatment. Twelve themes emerged from the data analysis: feeling cared for; spiritual experience; insight; making a commitment; empowerment/self-esteem; releasing emotional pain; remorse; reconnecting to traditional values; forgiveness; relief; safety; and gratitude.