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Subst Use Misuse. 2013 Sep;48(12):1233-45. doi: 10.3109/10826084.2013.799020.

Spirituality, drugs, and alcohol: a philosophical analysis.

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  • 11University of Kentucky Center on Drug and Alcohol Research and Department of Behavioral Science , Lexington, Kentucky , USA.


Spirituality has long been associated with recovery from the socially constructed "addictive disease." Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and its analogs have enjoyed widespread acceptance as a spiritual approach for achieving recovery. AA or its derivatives are the predominant approaches in treatment programs even though a wide array of evidence-based approaches are now promoted by governmental sources in the United States. This philosophical analysis contrasts the state of science about addictive disorders with the reliance on a spiritual approach that is heavily grounded in Christian theology. We present four problems that need consideration before accepting the applicability of 12-step spiritual practices as the backbone of addiction treatment or recovery.

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