Achess personal Story Interview Questions


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ACHESS Personal Story Interview Questions:

July 2013
** Really want stories from vets – how they deal with addiction as a vet, how started drinking/drugs, how coming back was. What made them go to treatment, how treatment helped them deal with things….Band of brothers – knowing other vets in treatment…

  • Please tell us about yourself; name, age, marital status, family. Social history. Are you working (or did you work)?

  • Tell us about your recovery? What was your addiction? How long have you been sober?

  • Have you been in recovery before – if so, why is this time different?

  • If not, could you tell us about your other recovery experiences?

  • Can you tell us about the events that led to your decision to get sober? What went through your mind when you decided to seek treatment? Why did you seek treatment? Can you describe your thoughts, feelings, fears, etc.

  • What surprised you during this time? What do you wish you would have been told about this time period?

  • Why do you stay sober?

  • What makes it worthwhile?


  • Recovery is hard work! How did you get through tough times? What have been the hard parts for you? What have you learned about getting through the tough times?

  • Sometimes great joy and even laughter can happen in the toughest of times. Have you had positive experiences in the midst of everything that is hard? Maybe even some funny moments?

  • What have you learned (about yourself, about others…) during this time?

  • If you could tell another addict just one thing, what would it be?


People in recovery have urges. How do you deal with urges? Are there some tools that you learned that help you deal with urges?

Behavior Change:

One thing people are taught in some treatment centers is to review your behavior chain. For instance to recall an instance when you were about to use – what were the circumstances, how did you feel, what were you doing? Can you share with us your behavior chain?

Problem Solving
Substance abuse refusal skills: How do you deal with events where you know there might be alcohol or drugs? For instance - family events, weddings, being with old friends? Can you share a time that you were in a situation with drugs/alcohol and how you dealt with that?
Seemingly irrelevant decisions: Sometimes the small decisions are the start to getting us off track. For instance a seemingly irrelevant decision could be deciding to stay up late and watch a movie on a work night. That decision led to over sleeping the next morning – which led to being late to work and your boss yelling at you. Which then led to going out with a drink with the “gang” after work.

Can you think of any seemingly irrelevant decisions in your past and how that led to using?

Identifying Automatic Thoughts:

Often we have automatic thoughts – such as I’m not good enough, or I can’t do _______. What are some of your automatic thoughts and how do you deal with them, how do you replace them with better more proactive thoughts.
Drug Use – HIV and Hepatitis:
If you have someone who is HIV+, can you share your story with us? Did you share needles?
Managing Triggers for Risky Sex:
If someone mentions that when they drank/used they were more likely to have risky sex...see if they are willing to share more about this. When you used/drank – some people are much more likely to have unprotected sex…did you feel that drug/alcohol use led to more risky sex behaviors for you? Can you share something about that?

Giving and Receiving Complaints:
Would be nice to get a story or 2 about how people had difficulty taking in positive things – and how they are working on accepting compliments as well as giving them to others.
Sharing Feelings:
Story about how really had to learn to recognize feelings and how to share them, not hold it all in…
Social/Recreational Activities:
Story about replacing drugs/alcohol use with more positive things – new friends, exercise, etc.

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