Talking Oneself Sober: The Discourse of Alcoholics Anonymous

by Seán O’Halloran

About Seán O’Halloran

Seán O’Halloran is a researcher with ICARUS (the Irish Centre for Alcohol Research and Understanding). His interest in the constitutive nature of language led him to study and publish on the discursive practices of Alcoholics Anonymous, the subject of his doctoral thesis from the University of Leicester.

He has been involved with AA research for many years and observed countless meetings in Asia, Britain, the United States, and Ireland. During that time, he has witnessed many members gain long-term sobriety through AA. He has seen even more try AA and leave, some to return later, others to find alternate roads to sobriety, and others to continue to drink––some to die.

He has also been involved in English Language education as teacher and teacher educator in Ireland, England, Singapore, and Hong Kong and he has published on ELT education and language and culture.

Dr. O’Halloran ‘s publications on AA include ‘Power and Solidarity-building in the Discourse of Alcoholics Anonymous’, Journal of Groups in Addiction and Recovery (2006); ‘Symmetry in interaction in meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous: The management of conflict’, Discourse and Society , (2005); and ‘Participant observation of Alcoholics Anonymous: Contrasting roles of the ethnographer and ethnomethodologist’, The Qualitative Report (2003).


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