To determine how one specific at-risk population problematizes alcohol use and responds to alcohol-related difficulties, findings from an ethnographic interview study of lesbians recovering from alcohol problems were used to develop a theoretical model of problematization. Problematization consists of two phases: recognition and response. Recognition involves problem indicators varying by type (cumulative vs immediate) and source (personal vs environmental). Movement from recognition to response is hindered by perceptual and enviromental constraints. Response consists of interrelated processes of construction, interaction, action, and validation. On the basis of validation, problems are reconstructed and new problems are recognized as the cycle continues.