Student Services Overview

DATE: Friday, June 27, 2014
TIME: 11:00 a.m
PLACE: Studio, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE: Om Prakash Sharma
DISSERTATION TITLE: "A Narrative analysis of the lived experience of Addiction and Sobriety in the context of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) based sponsor/sponsee relationship "
CHAIR: Dr. Paul Gabrinetti
READER: Dr. Delphine DeMore

Sharma, O. (2014). A Narrative analysis of the lived experience of Addiction and Sobriety in the context of Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) based sponsor/sponsee relationship (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2014)


In modern times alcoholism/addiction has emerged as a major Bio-psycho-social-economic problem in United States. Researchers have been conceptualizing this phenomenon from various perspectives for over hundred years without reaching a consensus. One of the challenging features of alcoholism/addiction is the prevalence of relapse. This study utilizes narrative analysis to explore the lives and experiences of five individuals who traveled from alcoholism/addiction to long-term sobriety.

The purpose of the study is to discover factors that facilitate sobriety and evaluate their applicability in treatment protocol. The study found that participants’ alcoholism/addiction had multiple roots such as exposure to internal/external conflict, experience of nurturing deficits, affect intolerance, and accumulation of multiple sustained trauma and hardship. Long-term sobriety seems to be facilitated by early experience of some nurturing, development of a measure of self-cohesiveness, ego strength, higher education, and self-efficacy. The participants experienced re-parenting, validation, increase in confidence through their participation in sponsor/sponsee relationship as practiced in AA and its spiritual tradition of the exercise of compassion through service to other alcoholics/addicts.

Addiction like fever may emerge from various traumatic experiences or challenges treatment would need to be calibrated to fit the experience of the client/patient. However the study found that participants had generally benefited by exposure to re-parenting, re-education, and re-integration in the community through consistent, constructive, and prolonged relationship with their sponsor that could be emulated by mental health professionals.

KEY WORDS: alcoholism, recovery, sobriety, sponsor, Alcoholism treatment


Please note: All oral defense attendees must shuttle to the Lambert Road campus from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria. Parking on campus is not available.