Is Alcohol Anonymous Spiritual?

There is a saying that Alcohol Anonymous (A.A) is a spiritual program. A.A was founded in 1935 and developed the Twelve Step program of spiritual and character development. The primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety. Something transpires when groups of people, operating on free choices, get together and openly share their reactions, feelings, and opinions about the twelve step principles. There are certain conditions that make this happen, namely sober people, operating under free choice, discussing the principles that underlie the movement.

Once people understand how to talk about the A.A principles and how to be honest about what they are thinking, feeling and doing, a spiritual feeling begins to emerge. A.A is a serious program, what you think and feel counts. As you risk putting your honest, uncensored reactions out there, the experience begins to happen to you. This experience is not primarily cognitive or behavioral but is a different form of counseling or therapy.

A.A does not primarily teach rational thinking, although when you are involved with it for awhile you start to think rationally, but is also optimal for achieving a goal or solving a problem. A.A does not teach you how to modify your behavior but if you work the program, your behavior begins to change. It is not a relationship therapy program, it is not designed to fix families or jobs, however, most people who are involved in the fellowship find that their families and jobs do improve.

While practicing your addiction, alcohol and drugs have distorted your spiritual values. By spiritual, I mean the non physical aspect of your being, your thoughts, feelings, attitudes and values. As you clear the wreckage from the past, you can at last experience a new sense of spiritual freedom. You can learn to become still and listen to that quiet, yet powerful voice within you that connects you to your true values in life. You can develop conscious contact with the God of your understanding, your Higher Power.

Step Eleven: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

You can look at A.A intellectually as unscientific but if you do so, then you could be dispelling the fact that A.A has worked for many people. We can ask the question, “What are the principles that make A.A work? And how can I learn to bring those principles into my own recovery? Is A.A quietly reshaping the face of America? or is it a search for the ultimate truth that is the spiritual quest within us all.