Author

Ariel Larson

Defense Date

5-1-2015

Graduation Date

2015

Availability

Immediate Access

Submission Type

dissertation

Degree Name

PhD

Department

Psychology

School

McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Russell Walsh

Committee Member

Jessie Goicoechea

Committee Member

Michael Flaherty

Keywords

addiction, alcoholics anonymous, alcoholism, gender specific treatment, twelve step recovery

Abstract

This research looks at how women in particular navigate the complicated power dynamics of twelve-step programs, specifically AA, to achieve long-term sobriety. This study attempts to understand how women in AA are appropriating and shaping AA and its reliance on the twelve-steps in unique and resourceful ways to make recovery their own. The methodological approach of this study is empirical-phenomenological. Interviews with five female members of Alcoholics Anonymous were conducted, transcribed and analyzed in an attempt to identify and understand how women approach and adapt recovery strategies and technologies that evolved during the twentieth century to meet the needs of alcoholic men. Discussion of findings is structured as a comparison and dialogue with Metaphors of Transformation: Feminine and Masculine (White and Chaney, 1993), which also looks at the experience and language of women in recovery, applying a meta-analysis of theory, science, practice and experience. White and Chaney's approach is not grounded in a specific phenomenological analysis, but is perhaps the most definitive work to date examining the need for gender specific understanding in AA and recovery. Results of the current study suggest that themes of empowerment, resolution of shame, and connection with other women are particularly important for gender specific treatment.

Format

PDF

Language

English

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