Flourishing Partners: Leveraging Positive Psychology in a Peer Support Model to Promote Well-being for Recovering Addicts
Substance use disorders are a widespread problem in the United States. In 2017, 19.7 million Americans aged 12 and over struggled with substance abuse, with 74% of those affected suffering from alcohol use disorder and 38% from an illicit or illegal drug disorder (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2017). Despite its power over individuals, addiction can be treated and managed through abstinence and healthy behavior, and there is opportunity to develop new approaches to augment traditional addictions treatment. Positive psychology, the scientific study of what makes life worth living (Seligman, 2011), offers rich potential to support individuals recovering from addiction to learn to thrive. A peer support model to help individuals to leverage positive relationships to cultivate positive emotion, meaning, engagement and growth is proposed as a modality to support a transformation into flourishing. Thirteen interventions are offered, as well as a guide to their implementation.