Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Counseling Psychology

Subject Categories

Counseling Psychology


Br. Andrew Gonzalez FSC College of Education


Counseling and Educational Psychology

Thesis Advisor

Nino Jose C. Mateo

Defense Panel Chair

Aime T. Guarino

Defense Panel Member

Leo J. Capeding
Jose Alberto S. Reyes
Estesa Q. Legaspi
Washington C. Garcia


Relapse in substance abuse is a topic abundantly discussed in the literature since substance abuse is a problem that has a global scope. Though the literature contains a lot of studies about relapse in substance abuse, little attention has been given to the perspectives of those who have experienced this phenomenon; little is known about their lived experiences. This study used the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) to explore the lived experiences of Filipinos with history of substance abuse relapse. Semi-structured interviews with 15 participants were conducted and analyzed and from which five super ordinate themes with corresponding 13 subordinate themes emerged. The five superordinate themes are: external triggers to relapse, rationalizations of substance use as internal triggers to relapse, awakening to the evils of substance use, struggling to sustain abstinence, and breakthroughs on the path of recovery. These themes indicate the uphill struggle of the respondents from the initiation of substance use to the cycle of relapse through substance abuse. The findings of the study suggest that the environment plays a big role in substance use initiation and the ensuing struggle to stop using, with the abuser very often impulsively responding to environmental triggers. The awareness of impulsive reactions and deceptive benefits of substance intake paves the way for a lasting recovery with two important realizations: keeping one’s guard up and resisting flight from life’s trying situations. These results were discussed in relation to the existing literature and recommendations for practice and future studies were made.

Abstract Format






Physical Description

viii, 274 leaves


Substance abuse--Relapse; Filipinos--Substance use

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