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Alcoholics Anonymous Essay

1634 words - 7 pages

Step programs refers to recovery programs in the Alcoholics Anonymous tradition. Although these programs are distinctly organized, they share a spiritual emphasis and similar recovery steps (e.g., AA, NA, Cocaine Anonymous). Spirituality is broadly defined in this research paper without respect to religious constructions. As within AA, spirituality is left to the individual to name and define (Step 3: "Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood Him" The Twelve Steps for Everyone, 1975, p. 15). For clarity of communication, an adaptation of the three dimensions of spirituality outlined in Brown et al. (1988) will be used. Brown used the following spiritual dimensions, each operationally grounded in behavior: relationship with others, relationship to self, and relationship with a higher power. Basic to these three dimensions is a sense of connection with self and other-than-self, and behaviors that reinforce this felt connection. The felt relationship with a higher power is most troublesome for behavioral scientists.A further operationalization of this relational concept can occur by defining higher power as anything or anyone who is viewed as transcendent: a felt connection to others (e.g., people and animals); to nature (e.g., the ocean, mountains, trees, rocks); or to the metaphysical (e.g., God). For some, spirituality is the metaphysical as embodied in others and in nature. Central to these views is acceptance that humans are not complete and sufficient unto themselves but are empowered and alive in relation to some energy or substance beyond themselves.A spiritual awakening, commonly experienced by step-program participants, is defined as the ability to think, feel, or behave differently and in a way that was not possible previously when the individual was attempting recovery without assistance (The Twelve Steps for Everyone, 1975). Although this broad interpretation of higher power and spiritual awakening is consistent with step-program publications, it should be mentioned that many program participants construe their higher power much more narrowly and according to traditional religious tenets. Understandably, a step meeting comprising many individuals with these beliefs might exert pressure on others to similarly define higher power. This certainly occurs but is a misunderstanding of step programs.A final prefatory note is to remind readers that alcohol has received more empirical attention than any other addictive chemical. Similarly, AA was the first step program to be established. Alcohol abuse is the most prevalent of all chemical dependencies, and because of alcohol's legal and cultural status, research and treatment are more pervasive. The use of alcoholism treatment research and AA's 12-step program are intended to be representative of the field of chemical addiction treatment.Empirical ApproachesTwo diverse views become evident when one reads what is written by those who treat addicts...

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