Sobriety only works if you’re honest. Honesty with yourself and honesty in your beliefs are key for successful recovery. But what does “honesty in your beliefs” actually mean? Do you need to be religious to get sober or join a program? Will religion help me stay sober?
While people in recovery have varied beliefs, many find religion to be a significant part of their recovery process. Alcoholics Anonymous, for example, has been rooted in spirituality from its origins. That’s not to say that sobriety cannot be achieved without religion or some other form of spirituality. But the strong incidence of religion in recovery warrants a look at its benefits.
Benefits of Religion in Sobriety:
For some people, religion is an anchor. It helps them to stay accountable and keeps them on the right track so that they don’t give into temptation and negative distractions.
The belief in a higher power, God or otherwise, acts as a point of comfort for most people. The idea this higher power guides and supports you through life and recovery can help to make the challenging times easier.
All religions have a following. So, an addict who actively practices religion has that extra support group through their church or fellowship that they can call on when they need help or support.
Prayer, in its many forms, provides an outlet for people to confess, ask for help, or simply release their thoughts and feelings. This is especially important in recovery because feelings of loneliness and separation can trigger relapse.
Spirituality in Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a sobriety fellowship that follows a 12-step program. One of AA’s cofounders Bill W. believed that addiction is healed through the acceptance of a higher power. He created the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous according to that belief. Out of AA’s 12 steps, seven of them include some reference to a higher power.* Step 12 even states that a spiritual awakening will result out of completing the process.
* View the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous here.
While AA does advocate for the belief in a higher power, they also boast an open door for all those seeking sobriety. Religion certainly isn’t necessary for recovery but it may help if you need extra support.