Do you have to be Spiritual for Alcoholics Anonymous?
In this article, we aim to convince you of the value you can gain by attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) even if you are not spiritual by nature.
We appreciate you may be sceptical about Alcoholics Anonymous, but please do hear us out.
Whilst AA may not be to everyone’s liking, it’s undeniable that millions of people have managed to make a success of their recovery solely by attending AA meetings.
Around the world, millions of lives are ended each year at the hands of addiction. If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol know that your life is in danger too.
Because AA asks you to reach out to a ‘higher power’, this doesn’t mean you need to believe in God. The concept of a higher power may mean ‘God’ for some, whilst for others, the concept of a higher power could merely be the group itself.
Why spirituality isn’t the same as religion
Some equate spirituality with religion. Whilst these two concepts may be related, these concepts are not mutually exclusive to one another. Spirituality is a much broader concept when directly compared to religion.
AA’s founder purposefully removed references to God in the 12-step teachings and instead used the term ‘God as we understand him”. AA’s founders defined ‘God’ in this way in order to make the 12-step programme more palatable to agnostics and atheists.
It must also be stressed that AA does not require you to believe in God in order to become a member. All that is required is the desire to stop drinking alcohol.
Since your own ‘higher power’ can literally be anything of your choosing, we feel it is utterly unfair to dismiss AA by accusing it of ‘carrying a religious message.’
If you find yourself dismissing AA for this reason, this may merely be subconsciously communicating your lack of commitment towards your recovery.
Examples of a ‘higher power’ that do not equate to ‘God’ include:
- AA itself
- Your family
- Mindfulness meditation
The above merely intends to serve as examples. There is an almost infinitive number of examples that could constitute your own personal ‘higher power.’ However, the most effective ‘higher power’ is often that which is capable of giving and receiving love. That’s why it’s common for AA members to consider other members as their source of a ‘higher power.’
The non-spiritual benefits of AA
Whilst millions of people credit the spiritual elements of AA for empowering their recovery, AA also offers many benefits that are entirely non-spiritual in nature.
Perhaps the central benefit of AA is the fellowship factor. It’s not surprising that having many other people around you to motivate your recovery is going to ease the process of staying sober. After all, if you let yourself down by re-starting your drinking, you are now letting the entire group down too.
It must be stressed the phrase ‘letting down’ may be a poor choice of words because AA members understand relapse is often part of the recovery journey.
Other Non-spiritual benefits you may gain by attending AA meetings include:
- Taking ‘one day at a time’
- Making up with people who were negatively affected by your addiction
- Helping others
- Building a fun and meaningful life
All of the above are not spiritual in nature. Thus, we feel it is fair to conclude that although AA does offer many spiritual benefits, it also offers many benefits that are compatible with those of you who do not identify as spiritual.
How to find a suitable rehab in my local area?
By far the quickest way to locate suitable rehab is to contact our team today on 0800 088 66 86. Researching your rehab options alone is time-consuming and there is a possibility that you could select poorly suited treatment. We help you narrow down your search to 2-3 local rehabs. We are also able to help you select rehab treatment that may be far away from your home.
About the author:
Jon writes for ADT Healthcare and a number of other websites. Jon graduated with a degree in psychology in 1992. Jon has been in recovery for 19 years.