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Friday, December 24, 2010

Spirituality Is the Key to Recovery

Alcoholics Anonymous is a simple program that has helped save millions of lives since the 1930's, there are number of aspects that make 12 step programs so successful, but, the key ingredient or, I should say, the glue that holds everything together is spirituality. Without spirituality, or the idea that something is greater than oneself, the program would probably not experience the success that it has. It makes no difference what one chooses to believe in as long as you believe in something other than yourself that is more powerful than oneself. There is new study out there which dealt with the effectiveness of spirituality with 12 step programs; it included more than 1,500 adult alcoholics who were followed through their recovery process for 15 months. The researchers found a strong association between people not drinking and spirituality as a result of more frequent attendance of AA meetings.

"I've heard it said that AA is too spiritual, and I've also heard it said that AA is not spiritual enough for some people," lead author John F. Kelly, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and associate director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, said in a journal news release. "Although this is not the only way that AA helps individuals recover, I think these findings support the notion that AA works in part by enhancing spiritual practices," Kelly added.

It is not yet known why spirituality helps people recover and stay sober in comparison with other recovery models, there is a chance that it may be able to complement other programs.

"We have also found that AA participation leads to recovery by helping members change their social network and by enhancing individuals' recovery coping skills, motivation for continued abstinence, and by reducing depression and increasing psychological well-being," Kelly stated in the news release.

"Down the road it will be important to conduct more qualitative research as well as further quantitative replication of our findings in order to understand more about how exactly spiritual practices and beliefs influence coping and behavioral change in recovery from addiction," Kelly concluded.

How spirituality holds everything together is not what's important, it doesn't matter that if we know, what is important is that spirituality is a common bond between people who have had a successful recovery.

Celebrate A New Life's staff wishes you a blessed Christmas.

The findings are published online and in the March 2011 print issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

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