Experience of Adults with Substance Use, Mental Health, and Homelessness Issues: A Combined 12-Step Faith-Based Program and Complementary Therapeutic Recreation Interventions


  • Lyn G. Litchke Texas State University
  • Vanessa P. Irvine
  • Amanda Ervin University of Lethbridge


There is a significant association between substance use disorder (SUD) and mental health (MH) issues for adults experiencing homelessness. Therapeutic Recreation (TR) is utilized as a treatment intervention for many populations including individuals experiencing SUD and MH issues through the use of recreation and leisure to address various physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual needs, as well as improve quality of life and well-being. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the experience of 12 adults with SUD, MH, and homelessness issues engaging in a variety of evidence-based practice (EBP) TR led activities involving complementary integrative health (CIH), adventure teambuilding, and creative arts combined with a 12-step faith-based recovery meeting. Twelve sessions took place for 2 hours, twice a week over 6 weeks at a residential treatment Christian mission. The thematic analysis revealed three overarching themes: 1) building a caring community, 2) finding a new enjoyable way out of addiction, and 3) calm healing through creative complementary spiritual activities. These findings indicate that combining various forms of EBP TR activities with peer support 12-step faith-based meeting added value to the recovery process. This case study adds to the current literature on how the combining EBP TR with a 12-step faith-based approach might aide in the healing process for adults with MH, SUD, and homelessness problems.





Conceptual Papers