Negotiating Identity Creation Through Personal Narrative In A Christian Recovery Group
Dunning, James N.
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Alcohol and substance abuse affects 23 million Americans each year and many seek treatment through mutual help groups and rehabilitation centers. Similar to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Celebrate Recovery (CR) is a mutual help recovery group with an emphasis on Christian identity. This study builds on previous research surrounding AA and examines how group members within CR utilize personal narrative to establish and cultivate their individual identity. Historically, Twelve Step programs such as AA and CR enable individuals to foster a new identity as members admit wrongdoings and trust in their higher power to repair their character flaws. Group members take turns sharing their stories, offering their past experiences and current struggles to others who may find similarities in their own stories. Central to these programs is the idea that offering evaluative, personal narratives in front of the group will initiate and build upon an individual's recovery process. This research is unique as few scholars reviewing mutual help groups have had open access to individuals in CR. By utilizing personal interviews with CR group members, this study examines the ways in which individuals use their personal narrative to create or bolster an identity within the group as well has how those narratives reinforce the group's recovery messages