Date of Award

January 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Richard Fiordo


A historical account of Native American Indian culture is set forth to provide the antecedent events for understanding problems with and solutions to alcoholism among Native American Indians. Two 12-step alcohol treatment programs are explained, compared, and contrasted: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and a Native 12-Step Program.

Qualitative analysis was used to collect information from 13 Native American Indian counselors in alcohol treatment programs and data was analyzed by coding transcripts of taped interviews, then grouping data into categories, determining themes from the categories, and drawing conclusions.

Three conclusions emerged from the qualitative data analyzed from Native American Indian alcohol treatment counselors. When treating Native American people (or Native people or Natives) suffering from alcoholism, the following conclusions were drawn: (a) Native people with alcohol problems believe they must reconnect with a great power, a power that runs throughout all of nature. This Greater Power (or Higher Power or Great Spirit) exists within people and helps them to survive and remain sober; (b) the best way to help oneself is by helping others - by meeting in groups (as opposed to trying to stay sober alone); and (c) sometimes, returning to Native culture and traditions is preferable and may be necessary for Native American Indians to reach sobriety and remain sober. The researcher employed the Indigenous Standpoint Theory as a basis for his communication theory and to explain the findings from qualitative interviews.