In their own words: A study examining AA and NA members' experiences of the 12-step self-help worldview
LE3 .A278 2012
Master of Education
This qualitative investigation explores worldview change in members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) via participants’ subjective experiences while learning and attempting to recover from alcohol and/or drug addiction(s) by following the 12-step self-help worldview on addiction(s) and recovery. A literature review revealed a lack of studies on worldview change in members of 12-step self-help programs, and subjective experiences of members of 12-step self-help programs, and it revealed a need for further qualitative studies aimed at understanding the mechanisms of change in12-step self-help programs. This study was designed using phenomenological methodology. Participants are four current members of AA and/or NA. The following themes were discovered in data obtained by in-depth interviews: interpretations of the disease concept of alcoholism/addiction(s), change in worldviews regarding a Higher Power, and change in perceptions about the programs. Results highlight the subjective nature of worldview interpretation and transformation in 12-step self-help programs. Results also reveal ambivalence in attitudes and beliefs on the nature and cause(s) of addiction(s), misperceptions about 12-step self-help meetings and about the role of religion in the programs, significant changes in beliefs in, and/or relationships with, Higher Powers, struggles to adopt components of the 12-step self-help worldview, and adaptations required for engagement in the programs. This study has implications for those working in health-related/helping professions, with current, former, or prospective members of 12-step self-help programs, as it uncovers the complex processes and factors involved in worldview change and engagement (or disengagement) in 12-step self-help programs. vii
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