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Recovery among ethnic minority patients may require dealing with identity issues. For these patients, substance abuse may have been a means of coping psychologically and socially with their feelings about minority status or the majority society (Lampkin 1971). During recovery, such people may find themselves consumed with ethnic issues (Westermeyer 1990). One type of problem is a negative ethnic self-identity. Another problem is an overwhelming hostility toward the majority society. Ideally, early attempts at resolving these ethnic issues should take place with a therapist or peers from the same ethnic group as the recovering person. After recovery is well under way, work with therapists or peers of other ethnic groups may not be a problem; it may even provide a means for working on cross-ethnic issues involving trust, projection, demonizing the other, and so forth. Work at a legitimate occupation can enhance the individual's self-esteem and increase his or her chances of recovery (Stead et al. 1990).

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