“A place where I am always welcome”: A thematic analysis of what belonging to Alcoholics Anonymous means to its members
Keywords:Alcoholics Anonymous, Groupwork, Membership, Community, Positive Outlook, Growth, Group Work
The purpose of this study is to explore what belonging to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) means to its international membership. The aim is to gain a collective view of the opinions held by those accessing the services offered by AA globally. This paper focuses on the study of AA entirely from the perspective of its members, without being attentive to the AA approach to recovery, or the 12-step programme it advocates. An online survey was distributed as a link on Facebook groups accessed by members of AA. Responses (N=182) were received from members accessing AA services in 11 different countries. These were analysed using thematic analysis. The findings convey a positive message for what belonging to AA means, demonstrating that members accomplish more than sobriety and sustained abstinence. They develop a positive outlook, feel connected and accepted into a unique community, that offers a platform for achieving personal and spiritual growth.