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ERIC Number: ED353627
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Oct
Pages: 24
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
A Semiotic Perspective on the Structure of Recovery.
Slagle, Ray Anthony
Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, based on the 12 steps of recovery, have grown tremendously over the last several years. Personal narratives are an integral part of the recovery process because the signs that are used, and the semiotic webs that they form, are similar among people who belong to 12-step groups. In these groups, personal narratives serve as a form of catharsis, or psychological/emotional release. According to Prieto's theory of the semiotic act, the "sender" creates a sign for the expressed purpose of conveying information to a "receptor." Following the social performance paradigm of catharsis, 12-step programs successfully achieve catharsis among members because there appears to be a controlled identification between the speaker (performer) and the group (audience). Two widely recognized common themes in Alcoholics Anonymous are the process of self-introduction as an addicted person, and "hitting bottom." In Prieto's model, the introduction serves to get the attention of the group and serves the function of unity within the fellowship, while the admission of personal powerlessness summed up the phrases "hitting bottom" marks the beginning of self-recognition and the start of the process of recovery. Within 12-step programs, there are also numerous life metaphors. Two of the most significant are powerlessness and a "higher power" (crucial to the recovery process). The communication styles used in these programs, and the cohesiveness of the groups, provide the researcher with a cogent group or culture to study. Additionally, the symbols used within these groups are unique and easily definable, making them relatively uncomplicated to observe and study. (Attached are copies of the 12 steps and the 12 traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous and a 31-item bibliography). (NKA)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A