Spirituality in recovery: a model of progression
McGregor, Joseph Gerard
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Spirituality is best defined as one's orientation towards God. In Alcoholics Anonymous the definition of spirituality is extended to include relationship with self and others. This study examines the spiritual progression of fourteen members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Subjects were required to be aged 35-45, have a minimum of one year of continuous sobriety, and to profess belief in the efficacy of the Twelve Steps. Data collection consisted of multiple subject interviews. Each subject also completed a questionnaire. A six stage model of spiritual progression was developed to evaluate subjects' acquisition and maintenance of spirituality. Spiritual progression in recovery, within Alcoholics Anonymous, is based on subjects' successful or unsuccessful application of AA's Twelve Suggested Steps of Recovery. Stage one of this model marks the beginning of recovery. Stages two and three address subjects' relationships with God. Stage four pertains to subjects' relationships with themselves. Stage five relates to subjects' relationships with others. Stage six concerns subjects' maintenance of spirituality through intentional application of the Twelve Steps. Subjects' psychological processes in successful or unsuccessful resolution ofthe challenges inherent in each of the model's six stages are explained using a transtheoretical approach, with object relations theory as a primary theoretical framework. A presentation of three case studies representing successful, moderately successful, and unsuccessful spiritual integration brings clarity to, and awareness of: alcoholics' experiences in working AA's Twelve Suggested Steps of Recovery. Results of this study were surprising. Data indicates that spiritual integration, a sound triadic relationship with God, sel:t: and others, is not attained easily. Of fourteen subjects, with a mean length of 5. 71 years of continuous sobriety, nine have achieved spiritual integration. Three subjects achieved moderately successful spiritual integration, and two subjects have been unsuccessful in their application of the Twelve Steps.
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