An alcoholism recovery home was established for Mariel Cuban refugees, but client selection procedures and program were inappropriate. A viable alternative was found with Hispanic Alcoholics Anonymous, and the program was converted to this approach. Problems of professionalism and the clinical relationship to AA emerged. Clinical interventions are inappropriate in the AA context, but sociologists may adopt the ethnographer's role. Exploration of the transcultural adaptation of AA ideas for an Hispanic population proved therapeutic when clients were placed in roles such as collaborator and cultural informant. Sociologists involved with groups in which clinical roles are inappropriate may find subjective refuge in the role of ethnographic researcher.

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