Experts recognize that drug treatment can come in two forms, based upon either seeing addiction as a disease or as a failure to cope. For instance, twelve step programs that see addiction as a disease tend to promote guiding principles to facilitate acknowledging a lack of control over one’s addiction and building relationship with a higher power in order to quit.
In fact, you could say that the entire 12-step model is based on a relationship with a higher power. Although some have steered away from the religious component of the 12-step program, others would say that spirituality is the key to the whole program. Because of this spiritual component, known in the AA community as having a relationship with a “higher power”, many churches and spiritual groups have a 12-step program of their own. They blend together their own religious or spiritual beliefs with the principles of the 12-step model.
For instance, the Church of Latter Day Saints, a religion practiced worldwide, has their own Addiction Recovery Program. This program is offered around the globe, and just like regular AA meetings, you can find support groups in your local area. This type of program is perfect for those who may already have a spiritual or religious tradition and who may need help with an addiction. Another example is the Baptist Church, which has a program called Celebrate Recovery. It too is a fusion of their own religious principles with those of the 12-step program. Lastly if you’re a Buddhist, you might be interested in the way that the United Kingdom Buddhist Recovery Network incorporates Buddhist teachings and traditions along with 12-step wisdom in order to help people recover from addiction. For a full list of religious oriented recovery programs, visit this link.
Certainly, there is a significance to the spirituality of the 12-step program. However, if you didn’t want to be vague, such as praying to a “Higher Power”, finding a 12-step program within your particular religious or spiritual tradition may be just the right path for overcoming an addiction.
Of course, many can argue that spirituality does not play a pivotal role at all. And for this reason, there are many addiction treatment programs that have been developed, leaving the talk about “higher power” out of their treatment. Instead of spirituality, some are drawn to science, putting their faith in facts and figures. There are those who keep their distance from spirituality throughout the many years they attend Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, and they continue to work through the 12 AA steps regardless. Some have started the road to recovery years ago and have remained sober neither needed nor wanted the spiritual component. Their disbelief in anything spiritual kept them far from it. Despite the research, for some, spirituality doesn’t make a difference in their recovery.
At the same time, there are some recovering addicts who never considered including religion or spirituality in their addiction treatment, but moving through the 12-step program encouraged a spiritual part of them to emerge. For instance, Steve Castleman, founder of AddictScience.com, found that the 12-step model taught him how to treat others as he wanted to be treated, live honestly, make amends, and help others. Castleman admits that learning this new set of behaviors was a result of practicing the 12-steps, which helped him heal resentment and anger, often at the root of an addiction. Even though Castleman didn’t want to go along with the spirituality of the 12-steps in the beginning, he later found that it was a significant part of getting sober.
Yet, if you already know that spirituality is going to play a large role in your recovery, and you’re already a part of a church group or religious path, you may want to inquire whether there is a support group or 12-step group within your spiritual community. If you’re a member of a large religious organization, you’ll likely find a 12-step group within your religious group.
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