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Surrender to Win: Constructions of 12-Step Recovery from Alcoholism and Drug Addiction.

Duff-Gordon, C. and Willig, C. ORCID: 0000-0001-9804-9141 (2020). Surrender to Win: Constructions of 12-Step Recovery from Alcoholism and Drug Addiction.. Health: an interdisciplinary journal for the social study of health, illness and medicine, doi: 10.1177/1363459320912837

Abstract

This article focuses on the ways in which members of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) construct themselves as being in recovery from addiction. In this original study, data were taken from nineteen participants. They were analysed using Willig’s (2013) six-stage Foucauldian discourse analytic method. This method is suited to enabling the analyst to locate discourse resources used by participants within broader, dominant, discourses, and for exploration of the implications of these constructions for subjectivity and practice. This article presents a discussion of analytic findings.

Mainstream academia has often constructed 12-Step recovery as a largely totalising discourse. This is likely to have negatively prejudiced health professionals and may help explain relatively low referral rates into 12-Step resources for addicted clients.
However, our analysis suggested that participants constructed themselves not as subjected by AA and NA discourse, but as drawing on it in ways aligned with agency, in order to practice care of the self in pursuit of various ethical goals. This implies 12-Step recovery to be less antithetical to, and indeed more aligned with, humanistic practitioner values than is perhaps often assumed to be the case. This finding suggests that practitioners may need to consider reappraising their view of 12-Step recovery. The discussion will therefore focus on the agency-structure dialectic that seemed to be at the heart of participant constructions of addiction and recovery. It is also is a finding which points to an urgent need for more qualitative studies in the currently under-researched, and hence perhaps poorly understood, area of 12-Step recovery from addiction.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been published by SAGE in Health: an interdisciplinary journal for the social study of health, illness and medicine
Publisher Keywords: Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, addiction, recovery, 12-Step
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2020 16:46
URI: https://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/23583
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