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ERIC Number: ED534710
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 331
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1249-8059-1
Friends of Bill W.: The Stories of How Eight Men Found "A New Pair of Glasses" through Transformational Learning
Turley, Matthew William
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University
In this qualitative study the primary researcher utilized research methods of heuristic phenomenology in order to better understand the experience of recovery for a group of male participants. The purpose of this study was to aid the primary researcher in better understanding his own experience of recovery from alcoholism, as well as to add to the current research available on the process of personal and social transformation through the process of participation in mutual-aid programs. For this research the primary investigator utilized a theoretical orientation of transformative learning theory; this was employed based on preliminary research indicating the process of meaning making and personal development based on participation in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Specifically, this research selected to study individuals in human service occupations, given that this was the researcher's occupational paradigm. A secondary rationale for selecting this occupational group was based on preliminary research indicating a disproportionate ratio of members within the program of Alcoholics Anonymous coming from, or moving into the human and social services. Lastly, this investigator identified philosophical ideologies of the "wounded healer" phenomena, as discussed by Henri Nouwen, as representing a particular experience in which "helpers" can have a lived experience of not recognizing their own need to help themselves. In this study eight men (including the primary researcher), coming from the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware, were recruited through known contacts and snowballing research methods. Men participating in this study met entrance criteria including: having a minimum of 3 years of continuous sobriety, finding sobriety through the program of Alcoholics Anonymous, having and working with a sponsor, and being engaged in a human service occupation prior to finding sobriety. The primary researcher conducted semi-structured face-to-face interviews with the participants at a variety of different locations. Study participants agreed to a minimum of one physical meeting; an additional follow-up meeting was set-up, as needed, for review and clarification. The findings of this study were such that a variety of adult learning mediums were employed in recovery from alcoholism. The participants of this study discussed how the various elements of the A.A. program (e.g., working the 12-Steps, developing a relationship with a sponsor and higher power, telling and revising ones story, sponsoring other men, and engaging in spirituality-based literature) fostered a new identity in recovery through a critical reflection of assumptions. Through the process of revising ones point of view and habit of mind numerous meaning making experiences were elicited: connecting with the personal stories of A.A. group members, coming to acceptance through developing a personal relationship with the A.A. literature, developing a new identity in recovery through a relationship with a home group, and experiencing a sense of connectedness through developing a personal relationship with ones higher power. Participants identified how their experiences in the program fostered change in their belief systems, values, assumptions, and motivations. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Delaware; Maryland; Pennsylvania