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J Subst Abuse. 1995;7(3):311-8.

Twelve-step program use among Oxford House residents: spirituality or social support in sobriety?

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  • 1Department of Psychology, DePaul University, Chicago, IL 60614, USA.


Oxford House is a self-help, self-governed, democratic communal-living environment for recovering alcoholics and polysubstance abusers. In this study, 134 male residents (M age = 34 years old) were personally interviewed on their recovery process and, in particular, on their experience with 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Most residents (76%) reported they attended weekly AA meetings to assist in their recovery, mainly to acquire effective techniques to maintain sobriety (72%). Many AA attendees (43%) claimed no sense of spirituality prior to joining AA, and for most of these men (71%), attendance at weekly meetings was not motivated by "spirituality" aspects of the program. In contrast, the majority of residents (53%) attending weekly AA meetings claimed that a sense of fellowship with similar recovering others was their reason for program involvement. It appears that among men living in a communal setting with other recovering addicts, the need for social support for sobriety from similar others continues beyond the confines of their residence.

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