The Recovery Narratives Project is an inquiry into experiences of recovery from substance use and mental health disorders.

What is Recovery?

A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self- directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. 

That’s how the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) defines it, but what does it mean to you?  What is recovery as defined by people in recovery? 

The Recovery Narratives Project is a collaboration between Therissa Libby, faculty at Metropolitan State University, and Minnesota Recovery Connection.  Participants explore their recovery experience in one-to-one interviews.

The collected narratives become a body of work that Dr. Libby will study to learn more about common themes and notable variations in recovery experience.




Interviews are conducted by Therissa Libby, a faculty member at Metropolitan State University and a person in long-term recovery. Each conversational interview is recorded for her to study and analyze for The Recovery Narratives Project.

All interviews are strictly confidential.  Some participants choose to waive their confidentiality and have their interviews published on this site as podcast episodes.  However, participation in the podcast is not required for participation in the project.

During the project launch in spring of 2017, the first twenty (20) participants will receive a $20 Target gift card in appreciation for their contributions.

Why Research Recovery?
The Recovery Narratives Project is a qualitative inquiry into experiences of recovery from substance use and mental health disorders. Both research efforts and societal conversations have focused almost exclusively on “the problem,” that is, the harms or perceived harms resulting from
substance use and mental illness. The resultant stigmatizing and criminalizing policies directed toward those experiencing substance use and/or mental health concerns diminish access to effective care and create barriers to recovery.


The development of the recovery advocacy movement has been accompanied by some shifts in perception and policy (although there is much work yet to be done). However, the question what is recovery remains inadequately answered and at times controversial.


This project seeks, through qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews, to gather information from the lived experience of those who describe themselves as being in recovery. In addition, emphasis is placed on the recovery experience of those from historically marginalized communities, as these communities are significantly underrepresented in the recovery advocacy movement.



Whether you are just interested in finding out more or you’re ready to tell your own story, fill out the contact form or call or email Dr. Libby to let us know of your interest in The Recovery Narratives Project.


 If you do express interest in being interviewed, Dr. Libby will contact you to provide further information and discuss an interview date. Interviews are held at Metropolitan State University’s Midway campus; alternative locations may be considered.


Once your interview is completed, you can decide if you want your story to be included in the Recovery Narratives Podcast. As with every part of the project, this only done with your full and informed consent; it is not required for participation in the project.



Dr. Libby will analyze the interviews to gather information from the lived experience of those who describe themselves as people in recovery.  The results of her inquiry will contribute to public and professional understanding of the phenomenon of recovery.


About The Recovery Narratives Project 

Therissa Libby, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Metropolitan State University

Dr. Libby teaches graduate and undergraduate students in alcohol and drug counseling and co-occurring disorders counseling at Metropolitan State. As a faculty member and as a person in long-term recovery, she is passionate about making a difference for those whose lives are affected by substance use and mental health concerns.  She heads the Recovery Narratives Project as a collaborative and community-based research project.

Minnesota Recovery Connection

Minnesota Recovery Connection (MRC) works to ensure that all who seek it have access to the support, care and resources they need to achieve long-term recovery from addiction.

MRC and Dr. Libby are pleased to collaborate on the Recovery Narratives Project.  The project kickoff for took place during MRC’s Community Forum Event on March 2, 2017.  

To add your support, you can email Dr. Libby, share on social media or contact MRC. We hope you will share this project widely in your communities.

We believe that recovery narratives have power.  By sharing stories of people in recovery, exploring what changed for them and defining what it means to recover, we can help those who are seeking a way forward in lives affected by substance use and mental health concerns.

We welcome others who are committed to visible, vocal and varied recovery. Each recovery narrative is unique and can make a difference.  Whether you contribute to the project by being part of our confidential research, participating in our public podcast or telling others about our efforts, we believe that you are making a difference.  You are part of another’s journey into what’s possible.

What’s your story?


Learn More 


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