Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Few studies have examined the social process of drug abuse recovery. To determine how recovering addicts use reference agents, such as reference groups and/or reference others, to achieve and maintain sobriety within the context of the Narcotics Anonymous (NA) support group experience, this study examines how Newcomers learn the norms and values associated with NA, how Newcomers become integrated into the NA group and internalize acceptable recovery behaviors, and how Newcomers transition to becoming Oldtimers. In this study, participant observation and in-depth, semi-structured interviewing (N = 13) based upon convenience sampling were employed. This study elicited six stages of social referencing that Newcomers experience during the process of becoming recovering addicts.


Sociology | Substance Abuse and Addiction