Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services


Counseling and Educational Leadership

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Angela Sheely-Moore

Committee Member

Vanessa Alleyne

Committee Member

Harriet L. Glosoff

Committee Member

Michele Knobel


This empirical study analyzed the language used by six individuals in recovery from alcohol use disorder (AUD) who have been participants in the mutual support organization Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) as they described their experiences with AUD and recovery. Participants were all White middle-aged Americans without a college education, a demographic cohort that has been identified as being at elevated risk for premature death due to AUD, drug misuse, and suicide (Case & Deaton, 2017). The findings suggest that participants’ experiences with AUD were associated with a constellation of factors, including culture-bound conflicting social identities, ruptured intimate relationships, and chronic unsuccessful power struggles. The participants described A.A. as playing a central role in recovery, and indicated that A.A. had provided the participants with a narrative template for reconstituting a sober identity. A.A. also offered participants a structured forum in which to rehearse and share their recovery narratives, along with the chance to develop their capacity to receive care and give care to others. The findings support theoretical models of addiction that emphasize the social dimensions of AUD and recovery, and point toward narrative therapy as an approach to addiction counseling.

File Format


Included in

Counseling Commons