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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Alcohol recovery:the search for the meaning in life Da Ponte, Paula


The purpose of this study was to examine in depth, the process which individuals undergo in their effort to overcome alcoholism. Multiple case studies were employed to draw forth the unique perspectives of five recovered alcoholics. The data was collected by means of minimally structured interviews with an emphasis on the subjective description of their experiences. A special focus of the study was the role of meaning of life upon recovery. The five case studies were presented as the co-researchers saw themselves. The cases were compared for commonalities. Sixteen themes were identified in the five cases except for the theme of spiritual awakening which was common for three of the five co-researchers. These themes constitute a longitudinal and progressive pattern of recovery in which (1) the beginning involves the realization that drinking is a problem and the decision to quit drinking; (2) the middle involves the development of significant supportive relationships and the development of new perspectives, values and goals; (3) the end involves self exploration and development of deeper meaning in life. The commonalities were synthesized into a general story of their recovery from alcoholism. The development of sources of meaning in their lives was significant in their recovery. The major sources of meaning were: family, work, contributing to others and the world and spirituality. A major implication of this study is that the findings can be helpful as a practical guideline for recovery.

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