Are the Prayer and Meditation Involved in AA Effective Treatments for Alcoholism?
Alcoholics Anonymous has help numerous individuals quit drinking and achieve a better life through its teachings of peer support and abstinence. Because the program heavily involves the use of prayer and meditation, there is some question as to whether or not these parts of the process are effective treatments for alcoholism as well.
How Important are Prayer and Meditation to AA?
The eleventh step of AA implores members to seek “through prayer and meditations to improve [their] conscious contact with God as [they] understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will and the power to carry that out.” These concepts are extremely important to the program, as they allow individuals to achieve the twelfth step (spiritual awakening), create a strong relationship with their higher power, and be in harmony with the culture of AA.
Are Prayer and Meditation Effective Treatments for Alcoholism?
Though these are not currently considered to be evidence-based therapies for addiction recovery, prayer and meditation have been found, for many individuals and in a considerable number of studies, to be effective for the treatment of alcoholism. According to a study from Alcohol Treatment Quarterly, their findings “supported [their] hypothesis that social supports, spirituality, life meaning, religiousness and 12-step affiliation buffer stress significantly and enhance quality of life among recovering persons.”
This may seem like a side benefit, but it actually helps to improve the situation of the individuals in alcoholism recovery in many ways. It allows them to feel reduced stress, which minimizes the chance for relapse, and gives them a strong purpose, which is one of the most important factors that bolsters recovery. In many ways, these practices alone can help minimize the effects of everyday life that would be more likely to lead a recovering alcoholic back to drinking.
Mindfulness, a benefit achieved through meditation, can also be extremely helpful toward the treatment of alcoholism. According to a study from the journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, an initial trial of mindfulness training used for smoking cessation “may confer benefits greater than those associated with current standard treatments” for the condition, including higher reduction and abstinence rates. By this theory, the concept of mindfulness as learned through meditation and mindfulness training can help individuals recovering from alcoholism and drug addiction as well.
The Importance of Spirituality as a Part of AA
These concepts actually do make a large difference in the lives of many individuals, allowing them to feel comforted, supported, and strong in ways they may never have before. Though the spiritual aspects of AA are not for everyone, they have been found to be effective treatments for many individuals, just like many evidence-based approaches.
Prayer and meditation are parts of AA that members are asked to continue even after they have gone through their initial twelve steps. This is not only because the concepts encourage oneness and harmony among members but because they have been found to be very effective treatment options for many alcoholics, at any stage of recovery. If you want to learn more about AA, call 800-839-1686.