Spirituality, AA And Religion: A Clinical Response

Finding Spirituality In A Material World


Photo courtesy of Jamal Ashiqain

This article defines spirituality for clinical audiences seeking to reconcile a plurality of voices that make up current recovery discourse. A four-pillar model of spirituality incorporates elements of “healthy risk, choice, relationship and participation within awe.” These elements are critical to the experience of spirituality as a process through which the addict achieves recovery. 

Advanced stages of addiction reveal a complete emphasis on the material rather than the spiritual, and the content rather than the context of life. Successful, sustained recovery depends on creative balance between these two poles. The clinician’s job is to assess the patients location on the continuum between material and spiritual poles and to develop a treatment plan that is appropriate to the patient given their differential needs for a more process-oriented lifestyle that includes participation in choice, risk, relationship and awe. The article provides guidance for clinical professionals seeking better ways to integrate multiple approaches to recovery into their treatment programs.

It’s important for an addict to define their own concept of a higher power and find a spiritual practice that works for them. At Bluefield, we try to set the stage for our students to find their own spirituality through attendance of 12 step meetings and daily mindfulness practices. 

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