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Title: How do recovering alcoholics, attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), view the phenomenon of relapse?
Author: Marsden-Hughes, Howard James
ISNI:       0000 0004 8505 6205
Awarding Body: University of Central Lancashire
Current Institution: University of Central Lancashire
Date of Award: 2018
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Within addiction-treatment, relapse from alcoholism is regarded as the most pressing problem facing recovering-alcoholics (Vaillant, 1988) as, in extreme cases, it proves fatal. However, professional research (comprising bio-medical and psychosocial approaches) fails to agree what constitutes a relapse and how best to secure its attenuation (Maisto et al., 2016). The dominant relapse-prevention model (Marlatt and Gordon, 1985) is not proving, universally, effective. Currently, psychosocial research construes alcoholism as a chronic, relapsing illness (Galanter, 2014). Yet some alcoholics, attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), appear to integrate their relapse-experiences positively, securing years of sustained-recovery. Understanding their recovery process may assist professional clinical practice where, historically, 90% of treated individuals relapse within the first year, post-partum. A purposive sample of six alcoholics, (four men/two women) affiliated with AA and experiencing abstinence-based, longer-term recovery (1-5 years), was recruited within the North West of England. Using semi-structured interviewing, my study applied a Rogerian, Person-Centred Approach methodology (PCA) (Rogers, 1951; 1957; 1961; etc.), to assist participants in describing, accurately, their phenomenological experiences of relapse within their lifespan. The objective was to re-present an empathic, descriptive and co-constructed expression of relapse within the context of their recovery-process, using their own words, but with a minimum of researcher intuited or inductive interpretation. The use of participant-validation was employed. Findings suggest that experiencing both relapse and alcoholism is highly subjective but that meaning-making, mercurially, does not have to be logically tenable. Though sustainable, recovery is never considered a stable phenomenon. The self-construct of being alcoholic, endorsed by AA's broad, phenomenological overview of alcoholism, requires the sacrifice of notions of self-efficacy (abstinence) as regards future alcohol consumption. However, this is replaced by an autonomous view of self, where alcohol-use is no longer salient. This empowers an individual both in developing coping-strategies and accepting a self-construct orientated towards living in active-recovery.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B790 - Nursing not elsewhere classified