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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Healing, Empathy, and Conflict Resolution: The Ninth Step Amends Process in Alcoholics Anonymous
by Moutray, Claudia Michelle, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2020, 252; 27960232
Abstract (Summary)

Conflict is in every part of society; however, people rarely go to those they have harmed and make amends. This dissertation examines how the ninth step amends in the Alcoholics Anonymous program helps repair conflict by teaching its members how to take responsibility for the harm they have created. The process of amends requires members to shift beyond an egocentric and oppositional perspective and towards compassion and healing.

In this qualitative study, I used narrative inquiry and feminist research methodology with a diverse group of participants involved in Alcoholics Anonymous. Feminist research methodology challenges the androcentrism of traditional research, supports social change, and seeks to include diversity. Narrative inquiry allowed me to take the participants’ stories and use them as the basis of my analysis.

This dissertation asks: how does the application of the ninth step amends in the Alcoholics Anonymous recovery program contribute to an offender’s ability to heal their relationships with those they have harmed? Despite differing backgrounds, each participant felt humility, empathy, and renewed self-worth when they implemented the ninth step amends to repair their conflict; however, there were notable gender differences. The women experienced abuse in their formative years; therefore, they had to work on feeling safe both physically and emotionally before they could do their ninth step. Ultimately, the participants viewed their conflict from the perspective of their victims. This research offers insights into the field of conflict resolution by examining the internal change that happens within offenders when they take responsibility for their actions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Arora, Alka
Commitee: Elawar, May, Keating, AnaLouise
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Philosophy and Religion with a concentration on Women.s Spirituality
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI 81/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Womens studies, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Sociology
Keywords: Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Conflict resolution, Ninth step amends, Recovery, Social justice
Publication Number: 27960232
ISBN: 9798645446871
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