Addiction problems in a family present challenges in coping with the addicted family member's behaviors are often described in terms of the psychopathology of the interactions of the family members. The present article describes a qualitative study of the lived experiences of mothers whose male children have struggled or currently are struggling with chemical dependence. Our overall aim in the study was to explore critical stages or events in the experiences of these mothers relevant to their chemically dependent sons. As such, our research question was: What are the lived experiences of mothers of substance abusing sons who are either in recovery or are still using substances? Results of the interviews of nine mothers indicated that regardless of age, ethnicity, social status, education, or career, they experienced a process highlighted by maternal expectations and consisting of three stages: (a) the pre-addiction stage in which mother and son did not experience abnormal relational stress or conflict, (b) the addiction stage in which mother and son experienced extreme relational stress and conflict, and (c) the mother's recovery stage in which the mother experienced a confusion in her relationship with her son and his addiction leading to her own recovery and wellness.


Chemical Dependency, Family Relations, Grounded Theory

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
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