Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department or Program

Graduate Humanities

Department or Program Chair

Laura Stivers, PhD

First Reader

Joan Baranow, PhD

Second Reader

Thomas Burke, MFA


Prohibition had an unexpected side effect: writers who wanted to see themselves as creative nonconformists began to flaunt their relationship with alcohol, adopting the persona of the charmingly and recklessly defiant individualist. Alcohol has been imagined as the writer’s muse and has assumed a prominent role in countless works of fiction. My culminating project is a collection of stories and poetry with that common thread: alcohol. Borrowing from the Humanist Alternative of the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve Steps, the collection is arranged into twelve sections, each headed by and inspired by a step in the program. My intent is not to disparage these steps but to illustrate how characters struggle with the principles of sobriety. Fiction can probe the profound effects of alcoholism on individuals, families, friends and society. My hope is that these pieces give the reader the opportunity to explore a character’s life and feelings and in this way perhaps give a face to the often complex experiences of alcoholism. As the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book asserts, storytelling can be healing medicine.