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Spirituality and Recovery From Familial Aspects of Alcohol and Other Drug Problems: Analysis of an Online Al-Anon Meeting

NCJ Number
Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly Volume: 26 Issue: 4 Dated: 2008 Pages: 399-426
Jeffrey D. Roth M.D.; Emjay M. Tan M.D.
Date Published
8 pages
This article presents the entire transcript of the second in a series of online chat room Al-Anon meetings of nine experienced members, which provides first-hand data on the process of a Twelve-Step meeting, with a focus on the Second Step (the role of spirituality in recovery from addiction) and the use of the Internet for the purpose of supporting recovery from addiction.
Step One of the Twelve-Step process, which was discussed in the first Al-Anon online meeting, involves admitting being powerless over alcohol to the point of being unable to manage one’s life. Step Two in the Twelve-Step program involves coming to believe in a power greater than oneself. The essential feature of this belief is that it challenges the primitive defense mechanism of paranoid projection. Step Two seriously confronts participants’ projection of their own unmanageability into the world around them, thereby creating a world where any challenges must be faced alone with one’s own limited coping mechanisms. Creating the alternative of a benevolent power outside of oneself is a worthy goal in any form of psychotherapy. There are several examples in the transcript that support this conclusion. Regardless of how a “higher power” is defined, apparently belief in the existence of such an entity is helpful for people recovering from the family disease of addiction. The members in the online meeting presented in the transcript apparently have experienced more gradual benefits from exploring spirituality, integrating a divine, supernatural concept of “higher power” with the practical experiences of living, including the presence of a higher power in the group process. 35 references