Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

First Advisor

Pat Dattalo, Ph.D.


The mutual aid of Alcoholics Anonymous helps more people with alcohol-related problems than all forms of clinical treatment combined. Yet, efforts to understand AA’s action have been conducted, almost exclusively, from a clinical perspective. Thus far, the literature representing Alcoholics Anonymous from the perspective of its members is very limited. This study uses qualitative content analysis of the AA literature and a grounded theory approach to AA’s fellowship to provide an insider’s perspective of change processes associated with AA involvement. This understanding of the AA literature posits that Alcoholics Anonymous involvement results in life improvement, changes in spirituality, improved well-being, an acceptance of powerlessness over alcohol and a sense of fellowship. This understanding of AA’s fellowship posits that Alcoholics Anonymous involvement results in increased life meaning, reduced insecurity, loneliness, anxiety and shame.


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VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


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Social Work Commons