Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Twelve step programs, Drug addiction-Sex differences, Drug addicts-Rehabiliation-Sex differences, Addiction, Recovery, 12-steps, Gender, Alcoholics-Sex differences, Alcoholics-Rehabilitation-Sex differences, Gender identity


This study seeks to understand gender variance when an individual leaves a "drug addict role" and creates a "recovering addict role" within the ideological constraints of 12-step programs (Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous). Noting the limitations of addiction literature when examining the experiences of the entire gender variation spectrum, the researcher set out to identify whether this process varied among the genders and explore these results. Twelve qualitative interviews were conducted with addicts of various genders who had at least one year of sobriety within the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. Participants were asked to share their histories in moving from active addiction into a 12-step recovery. Semi-structured questions were asked to elicit data on events, beliefs, and experiences significant to ones' addiction and subsequent recovery. Findings from the twelve interviews suggest that while addicts share many common experiences, the process of moving from active addiction towards a 12-step recovery does vary among genders. Conclusions from this study imply that both active addiction and a 12-step recovery impacts genders differently. Implications warrant further examination of addiction and recovery along the gender variation spectrum. This information can guide mental health professionals toward a deeper and more "gendercompassionate" understanding of a recovering addict regardless of how that individual self-identifies.




iii, 101 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011. Includes bibliographical references (p. 84-93)