Date of Award


Degree Name

Curriculum and Instruction


College of Education

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Campbell, Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Luke Eric Lassiter, Committee Member

Third Advisor

Dr. Walter Stroupe, Committee Member


This participatory action research project was developed to explore the participants’ experiences during a collaborative recovery expressive writing (CREW) workshop while in long-term treatment from substance use disorders (SUDs). This workshop featured the primary components of the James W. Pennebaker model, but adapted the technique to create a safe environment for the participants to share their writings. This qualitative study conducted at Recovery Point West Virginia began by exploring how ten women sharing their emotions within a supportive environment used collaborative writing to continue their recovery journey through self-discovery and healing. Following the CREW workshop, the project continued with focus group sessions and interviews to gather a deeper understanding of the participants’ experiences during the workshop and determine other valuable factors beneficial to SUD recovery. The observations and interviews were interpreted in relation to the oretical literature focusing on social learning, cognitive behavioral and person-centered theories.Several themes emerged from the data such as sharing emotions, freedom to share, trust, comfortable, connectedness, positive social interactions and self-discovery. This particular model of expressive writing introduces new opportunities that could enhance SUD treatment through collaborative recovery. This collaboration allows individuals to interact in a group setting, which could present an opportunity for recovery support and provide feedback for motivation. This adaptation of a well-established expressive writing technique illustrates how the power of writing can also help illuminate the emotional healing necessary during recovery.


Diaries -- Therapeutic use.

Drug abuse -- Treatment.

Drugs and women -- Treatment.