30 Contemp. Drug Probs. 647 (2003)
Recovery Careers of People in Alcoholics Anonymous: Moral Careers Revisited

handle is hein.journals/condp30 and id is 657 raw text is: Contemporary Drug Problems 30/Fall 2003

647

Recovery careers of people
in Alcoholics Anonymous:
moral careers revisited
BY HEATH C. HOFFMANN
The concept of the moral career has been used to study the
normative sequence of statuses that the mental patient (Goffman,
1959), the marijuana user (Becker, 1953), and the psychiatric
resident (Light, 1980) experience as they develop a new identity.
This work is limited, though, because these three authors do not
discuss variations from the normative model of the moral careers
they describe. In this paper I reexamine the moral career looking
at participants in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). While a wealth of
research has been devoted to studying the recovery careers of AA
participants, the primary focus has been on the moral career of
the member who abstains from alcohol, commits herself to AA
activities, and embeds herself in social networks that largely
consist of other AA members. As a result, we learn mostly about the
ideal career path that people should follow in recovery, and not the
range of moral careers that members actually exhibit. I compensate
for this shortcoming by analyzing the range of roles and statuses
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The author gratefully acknowledges the support of
Training Grant T32-AA-07473 from the National Institute on Alcohol
Abuse and Alcoholism, under the direction of Paul Roman, during the
preparation of this manuscript. I would also like to thank Joe Hermano-
wicz, Aaron Johnson, Hannah Knudsen, and Suzanne Baker for comments
made on an earlier version of this paper. Direct correspondence to: Heath
C. Hoffmann, Department of Sociology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
30602; (706) 542-1876; heathman @arches. uga. edu.

 2003 by Federal Legal Publications. Inc.

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