Date of Award
Anne E. Geller
By studying A.A.’s prescribed qualification narrative device, examining literacy studies that continue to circulate A.A.’s narrative model, analyzing LGBTQIAP+ qualifications published through A.A.’s literary press, and exploring A.A.’s deeply hidden history of its Queer members, I identify how Queer members learn how to tell their qualifications within the confines of the program’s cisheteronormative history and are forced to conceal their identities for the sake of preserving the A.A. redemption story. I argue that there is a difference between narrative telling and recovery storytelling: that while most recovery literacy narratives are crafted and occur in church basements, where A.A.’s rhetorical prescriptiveness is required and reproduced as an attempt to contain its hegemonic culture, Queer members are seeking rhetorical community spaces outside the program’s walls. As a woman, as a feminist, and as a Gender Non-Conforming Lesbian, I have learned that the telling of my recovery literacy narrative within the confines of A.A.’s qualification paradigm, within its institutional social system, has hindered my literacy practices and identity-formation as a Queer person who relies on community for survival. Through autoethnography, I draw on my own experiences to show that while the institutionalization of A.A.’s literacy and literary praxis saved my life, I had to leave my Queer identity at the door in order to participate in A.A.’s redemption story. I articulate critical observations of A.A.’s patriarchal culture, which I have been actively participating in for most of my recovery. While A.A. program tries offer its best version of inclusivity, it still expects Queer members to conform to A.A’s cishegemony and narrative history. I describe “Voices from Rock Bottom (VFRB),” the digital storytelling project I founded and developed, which invites Queer storytellers to share Queerstories of recovery, working from a rhetorical methodology that embraces Queer literacies, intersectionality, and inclusivity. I conclude that inclusive storytelling happens when Queer members move beyond A.A.’s literacy and literary borders and engage in public recovery literacies through Queerstories of recovery, bringing visibility to the community.
Bacibianco, Danielle, "Queerstory of Recovery: Literacy and Survival in A.A." (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 237.