Spirituality and purpose in life in alcoholism recovery

J Stud Alcohol. 1993 May;54(3):297-301. doi: 10.15288/jsa.1993.54.297.


This study examines the relationship between spirituality and recovery from alcoholism. Spirituality was defined as the extent of practice of Alcoholics Anonymous Steps 11 and 12 and was measured by a Step Questionnaire developed by the researcher. Step 11 suggests prayer and meditation and Step 12 suggests assistance of other alcoholics. Expressed degree of purpose in life was also seen as a reflection of spirituality. It was postulated that the extent to which Steps 11 and 12 were practiced would be positively correlated with the extent of purpose in life reported by 100 Alcoholics Anonymous members. The major findings of this study are significant positive correlations between practice of Step 11 and purpose in life scores (r = .59, p < .001) and between Step 11 and length of sobriety (r = .25, p < .01). Number of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings attended was significantly correlated with purpose in life scores (r = .24, p < .01) and length of sobriety (r = .25, p < .01). These findings suggest that a sense of purpose in life increases with continuing sobriety and practice of the spiritual principles of Alcoholics Anonymous.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcoholics Anonymous*
  • Alcoholism / psychology
  • Alcoholism / rehabilitation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Personality Development
  • Personality Inventory
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Temperance / psychology