Friendship as a Means of Addiction Recovery in the Cenacolo Community: A Case Study on How Work, Prayer, and Friendship Contribute to the Change of Addictive Patterns



Słowa kluczowe:

practical theology, addiction, friendship, grounded theory, methodology


Cenacolo community is a Catholic association whose mission is to help people overcome addiction. It originated as a grassroots movement in 1983. by sister Elvira Petrozzi and has over 50 houses worldwide, with headquarters in Italy. Over the years, the community has become known as a place where people change their addictive habits through work and prayer, by living together for an extended period of three years on average. To understand how the method works, we analysed 49 testimonials of former addicts who, at the time of giving testimony, were members of the community. What emerged from the research is that, besides work and prayer, the central motivation for the former addicts to complete the programme, is friendship. This was not clear from the outset, but gradually emerged through the application of the grounded theory. Grounded theory is the methodology developed by sociologists Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss. It allows the researcher to extract the main features of the studied reality by giving voice to the participants in the first place. Grounded theory has rarely been used in theology, and this research is one of the few done so far in the theological realm. The results show that, while work and prayer have a certain importance, the former addicts find friendship to be the main force which helps them to change their habits and start a new life.


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