Graduation Year


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies

Faculty Advisor

Christian Williams


People with substance use disorder are a particularly at risk population who experienced greater hardships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as previous literature revealed. The present study aims to explore the experiences of individuals with substance use disorder accessing recovery support services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Self-report survey data was collected from 144 participants who self-identified as having substance use disorder and engaged in recovery support services since COVID-19 began. Thematic analysis was used to analyze survey data and 4 main themes were identified: (1) Shifting terrains in recovery, (2) Connecting through a screen, (3) Heightened hardships, and (4) Grow through what you go through. Participants experienced greater challenges during the pandemic related to accessing virtual substance use support services, exacerbated mental health symptoms, and loss of relationships, which often led to decreased motivation for recovery. In the face of adversity, however, a number of participants expressed cultivating resilience and healthy coping strategies, leading some to derive a newfound sense of purpose in recovery. Future research should explore the present role of virtual services in recovery treatment and mental health conditions following the pandemic.