Who we are Search Resources Submit a resource Links to sites Discussion Board Contact Us Return to Home
Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Alcoholics Anonymous and spirituality.

Author: Haller, D.J.
Author Background:
Date Fall 1998
Type Journal
Journal Title: Social-Work-and-Christianity
Volume/Pages 25(2): 101-114
Subject Matter Alcoholics-Anonymous-(AA); Spirituality-; Social-work-practice; Healing, Addiction
Abstract This article examines the nature and influence of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as a spiritual program of recovery from alcoholism. A brief history of AA explores the influences on AA of the Oxford Group Movement and its key spiritual elements such as the need for moral inventory, confession of personality defects, restitution to those harmed, helpfulness to others, and the necessity of belief in and dependence upon God. The experiences and beliefs of founders Bill Wilson and Bob Smith reveal the strongly spiritual thread binding the movement's principles and practices together. The nature of the Higher Power is discussed along with the question of whether or not belief in a higher power than the self regardless of its nature is itself sufficient for healing. While it is clear that AA founders wanted to minimize the initial theological definition of the Higher Power in order to make the principle as generically acceptable as possible so that people could begin to awaken to God's healing power, differing conceptions of God alter only our perceptions, not God's true nature. Real power for healing is present, regardless of the clarity of our perceptions. The article concludes with a brief review of practice considerations for social workers engaging in practice with alcoholics involved with AA. (Journal abstract.)