Alcohol recovery and spirituality: strangers, friends, or partners?

South Med J. 2006 Jun;99(6):654-7. doi: 10.1097/01.smj.0000198271.72795.ab.


Alcoholics Anonymous, with its steady but nonspecific promotion of belief in a higher power and its emphasis on the group process, long held a near-monopoly in the outpatient alcohol recovery field, but its hegemony has now been challenged by two very different perspectives. The first is a nonspiritual approach that emphasizes the individual's capability to find a personal pathway to sobriety, exemplified by Rational Recovery. The second is a faith-based method, built on a religious understanding of alcoholism, of which Celebrate Recovery is a prominent example, based upon Christianity. Most communities offer a variety of approaches, so clinicians who are aware of these differences are in a good position to help patients make intelligent choices among the competing recovery philosophies.

MeSH terms

  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Self-Help Groups*
  • Spirituality*
  • United States