Skip to main content

Negotiating “Self-Stigma” and an “Addicted Identity” in Traditional 12-Step Self-Help Groups

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Drugs, Identity and Stigma

Abstract

In empirical accounts of self-help processes, it is often argued that individuals “self-stigmatise” (Corrigan, P, W., and Rao, D. 2012 On the Self-Stigma of Mental Illess: Stages, Disclosure and Strategies for Change, in Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, vol, 57, Issue 8.), wherein they self-identify as “diseased”, label themselves “addict” then fashion a new “in recovery” addicted identity. Using the social identity approach to recovery as a framework and empirical data from 36 qualitative interviews with individuals in recovery this chapter theoretically explores self-help processes. We examine the ways in which self-help users negotiate the concepts of “stigma” and an “addicted identity” in traditional types of 12 step self-help groups. Based on data from study in the Northeast of England, we propose the following typology of self-help users, highlighting variations of “The Addicted Identity” and complex experiences captured in self-help groups: Defender of the Legacy, Partial Appropriator and Repudiator.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

eBook
USD 16.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

References

  • Addison, M., Kaner, E., Johnstone, P., Hillier-Brown, F., Moffatt, S., Russell, S., Barr, B., Holland, P., Salway, S., Whitehead, M., and Bambra, C. 2019. Equal North: How can we reduce health inequalities in the North of England? A prioritization exercise with researchers, policymakers and practitioners. Journal of Public Health 41(4) (December 2019): 652–664.

    Google Scholar 

  • Allan, C. 2007. Crime Drugs and Social Theory: A Phenomenological Approach. England: Ashgate Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Anderson, L., J. Spanjol, J.G. Jeffries, A.L. Ostrom, C.N. Baker, S.A. Bone, H. Downey, and M. Mende. 2016. Responsibility and Well-being: Resource integration under responsibilization in expert Ssrvices. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing 35(2): 262–279.

    Google Scholar 

  • Angres, D., and H. and. 2008. The disease of addiction: Origins, treatment and recovery. Disease a Month 54(10): 696–721.

    Google Scholar 

  • Baler, R., and D. and. 2006. Drug addiction: The neurobiology of disrupted self-control. Trends in Molecular Medicine 12(12): 963–970.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bambra, C. 2016. Health Divides: Where you live can kill you. Bristol: Policy Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Banonis, B. 1989. The lived experience of recovering from addiction: A phenomenological study. Nursing Science Quarterly 2(1): 37–43.

    Google Scholar 

  • Becker, H. S. 1967. History, culture and sunjective experiences: An exploration of social bases of drug induced experiences. Journal of health and Social behaviour 8(3): 163–176.

    Google Scholar 

  • Bourdieu, P. 1977. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge: University press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Brewer, M.D. 1991. The social self: On being the same and different at the same time. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 17(5): 475–482.

    Google Scholar 

  • Callero, P.L. 2003. The Sociology of the Self. Annual Review of Sociology 29: 115–133.

    Google Scholar 

  • Charmaz, K. 1983. The Loss of Self: A fundamental form of suffering in the chronically ill. Sociology of Health and Illness 5(2): 168–195.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cloud, W., and R. Granfield. 2008. Conceptualising Recovery capital: Expansion of a theoretical construct. Substance Use and Misuse 43(12): 1971–1986.

    Google Scholar 

  • Corrigan, P, W., and Rao, D. 2012 On the Self-Stigma of Mental Illess: Stages, Disclosure and Strategies for Change, in Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, vol, 57, Issue 8.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cruikshanks, B. 1999. The Will to Empower: Democratic Citizens and Other Subjects. Ithica, New York: Cornell University Press. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Will-Empower-Democratic-Citizens-Subjects/dp/0801485991?asin=0801485991&revisionId=&format=4&depth=1.

  • Davies, B., and J. 1998. The Myth of Addiction, 2nd ed. London: Routeledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Denzin, N. K. 1993. The Alcoholic Society: Addiction and Recovery in Self-Help. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Elliott, A. 2013 Concepts of the Self (Third Edition) Cambridge: Polity Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Gauntlett, D. 2007. Creative Explorations: New appraoches of Identities and Audiences. London: Routeledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Goffman, E. 1968 Asylums, Essays on the Social Situations of Mental Patients and Other Inmates, London: Penguin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Heir, D., 2005 Goffman: Introduction to the Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, in Heir (ed.), Contemporary Sociological Theory, Toronto: Canadian Scholars Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Humphreys, K. 2011. Circles of Recovery: Self-help organisations for addictions, 2nd ed. Cambridge: University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Humphreys, K., E.S. Mankowski, R. Moos, and H. and Finney, J, W. 1999. Do Enhanced Friendship Networks and Active Coping Mediate the Effect of Self-Help Groups on Substance Abuse. Annals of Behavioural Medicine 21(1): 54–60.

    Google Scholar 

  • Jellinek. 1960. The Diseased Concept of Alcoholism. New Haven Comm: College and University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Johnson, V, E. 1980 I’ll quit tomorrow (revised edition) San Francisco: Harper and Row.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kelly J. F. 2003. Self-help for substance-use disorders: History, effectiveness, knowledge gaps, and research opportunities. Clinical Psychology Review 23(5) (October 2003): 639–663. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0272-7358(03)00053-9. PMID: 12971904.

  • Kimura, M., and S. Higuchi. 2011. Genetics of alcohol dependence, Psychiatry and Clinical. Neuroscience 65(3): 213–225.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kurtz, L., and F. 1997. Self-Help and Support Groups: A handbook for practitioners. London: Sage.

    Google Scholar 

  • May., C. 2001. Pathology, Identity and the Social Construction of Alcohol Dependency. Sociology 35(2): 385–401.

    Google Scholar 

  • MacDonald, R., and J. Marsh. 2002. Crossing the Rubicon: Youth Transitions Poverty. Drugs and Social Exclusion, International Journal of Drugs Policy, Issue 13: 27–38.

    Google Scholar 

  • Marmot, M., J. Allen, T. Boyce, P. Goldblatt, and J. Morrison. 2020. Health equity in England: The marmot review 10 years on, 1–172. London: Institute of Health Equity.

    Google Scholar 

  • Martin, P., G., and Waring., J. 2018 Realising Governmentality: Pastoral power, governmental discourse and the (re)constitution of subjectivities, The Sociological Review, 22(66).

    Google Scholar 

  • McGovern, W., M. Addison, and R. McGovern. 2021. An exploration of the psycho-social benefits of providing sponsorship and supporting others in traditional 12 step, self-help groups. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18: 2208.

    Google Scholar 

  • McIntosh, J., and N. McKeganey. 2000. Addicts Narrative of Recovery of Drug Use: Constructing a non-addicted identity. Social Science and Medicine 50(10): 1501–1510.

    Google Scholar 

  • Measham, M., and Shiner., M. 2009. The Legacy of Normalisation: The role of classic and contemporary criminological theory in understanding young people’s drug use. International Journal of Drugs Policy 20(6): 502–508.

    Google Scholar 

  • Milan, J., and R. and. 1983. Under the Influence. New York: Bantam.

    Google Scholar 

  • Moos, R, H. and Timko, C. 2008 Outcome Research on 12 Step and Other Self Help Programmes, in Galanter, M. and Kleber, H, D (Eds) Textbook of Substance Use Treatment, 4th ed. Washington: American Psychiatric Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Peele, S. 1985. The meaning of addiction: An unconventional view. San Francisco: Jossey Bass Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Piazza, P.V., and M. Le Moal. 1998. The Role of Stress in Drug Self Administration. Trends in Pharmacological Science 19(2): 67–74.

    Google Scholar 

  • Reinarman, C. 2005. Addiction as accomplishment: The discursive construction of disease. Addiction Research & Theory 13(4): 307–320.

    Google Scholar 

  • Rose, N. 1999. Governing the Soul: The shaping of the private self, 2nd ed. London: Free Association Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Seddon, T. 2006. Drugs, Crime and Social Exclusion. British Journal of Criminology 46(4): 680–703.

    Google Scholar 

  • Sered, S., and M. Norton-Hawk. 2011. Whose Higher Power? Criminalised Women Confront Twelve Steps, Feminist Criminology 6 (4): 308–332.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shields, A., and E. 2011. Ethical concerns related to developing pharmacogenomics treatment strategies for addictions. Addiction Science and Clinical Practice 6(1): 32–43.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shildrick, T.A., and R. MacDonald. 2008. Understanding youth exclusion: Critical moments, social networks and social capital. Youth and Policy 99: 46–64.

    Google Scholar 

  • Shiner, M., and T. Newburn. 1997. Definitely, maybe not? The normalisation of recreational drug use amongst young people. Sociology 31 (3): 511–529. https://doi.org/10.1177/0038038597031003008.

  • Smith, A. 1997. The social world of alcoholics anonymous: How it works. iUniverse. https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-social-world-of-alcoholics-anonymous/annette-rsmith/9780595476923.

  • Stolberg, V.B. 2006. A review of perspectives on alcohol and alcoholism in the history of American health and medicine. Journal of Ethnicity in Substance Abuse 5(4): 39–46.

    Google Scholar 

  • Thombs, D.L., and C.J. Osborn. 2013. Introduction to Addictive Behaviours, 4th ed. London: Guilford Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Troughton, G. 2013 Redeeming the Demon Drink, Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, 27(2) (September 2013).

    Google Scholar 

  • Tyler, I. 2020. Stigma: The machinery of inequality. London: Zen Books.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Willcox, D, M. 1998 Alcoholic Thinking: Language, Culture and Beliefs in Alcoholics Anonymous, Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  • Yeung, S. 2007. Working the Programme: Technologies of self and citizenship in Self Help. Nexus 20: 48–75.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to William McGovern .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2022 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

McGovern, W., Addison, M., McGovern, R. (2022). Negotiating “Self-Stigma” and an “Addicted Identity” in Traditional 12-Step Self-Help Groups. In: Addison, M., McGovern, W., McGovern, R. (eds) Drugs, Identity and Stigma. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-98286-7_11

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-98286-7_11

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-98285-0

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-98286-7

  • eBook Packages: Law and CriminologyLaw and Criminology (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics