Social supporters and drug use enablers: A dilemma for women in recovery

Gregory P. Falkin, Shiela M. Strauss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The social networks of substance-using women consist of people who provide constructive social support, individuals who enable their drug use, and those who do both. Women's success in recovery may be attenuated because some of the people who are most likely to provide them with social support after drug treatment previously enabled their drug use. This article examines the social support systems of women offenders (N=100) who were mandated to four therapeutic communities in New York City. The women had an average of nine supporters (four males and five females). Although most of the women had partners who provided them with constructive social support, many of their partners also enabled their drug use. Some of the women indicated that their partners did not provide constructive support but were among their main enablers, while half of the women said that their partners actually encouraged them to stop using drugs. The majority of the women also received support from their parents, siblings, other kin, and friends. Some of these supporters also enabled their drug use while others encouraged them to stop using drugs and enter drug treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-155
Number of pages15
JournalAddictive Behaviors
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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