Renaissance Ranch

Why Spirituality in the Twelve Steps Is Necessary for Recovery

Jan 18, 2023

Faith is at the core of most addiction recovery programs, and for good reason. Those who practice successful substance use and addiction treatment programs have found that faith-based methods bolster medical and therapeutic practices. So why is faith important? This is a question many of you may wonder. From the early inception of treatment programs for addictions in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, spirituality has been at the core of these curriculums.

One of the most successful of these therapeutic practices is the 12-Step program, a series of guidelines developed in the 1930s. Originally developed specifically for alcohol addiction, 12-Step programs have since been adapted successfully to treat many kinds of substance use.

Some 12-Step programs empower the people who seek them out to find their own spirituality and higher power in their addiction treatment. Other programs develop their programs as Christ-focused, using the Bible teachings to help patients take responsibility, receive the guidance they need, and make positive changes in their world that last a lifetime.

No matter how a treatment program works, the fact remains that recovering one’s physical and mental health from addiction also involves recovering one’s spirituality. Our spiritual cores are central to our ability to choose to live a better life, now and in the future. Read on as we discuss this more, and spirituality in 12-Step programs. 

The Indispensable Benefits of Spirituality in 12-Step Programs

The evidence of how faith can help individuals overcome addiction is enormous. Researchers continue to find positive correlations between spiritual belief and recovery from substance use and addiction.

As many as 73% of addiction recovery programs in the United States incorporate some form of faith-based treatment. One of the most prominent and recognizable of these programs is the 12-Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Spirituality in the Twelve Steps is an integral part of the program’s success and is often cited as evidence of the success of faith-based treatments.

Faith-based programs also benefit everyone, even those who are not in treatment. Many of these treatment centers operate largely with volunteer workforces. In total, these programs save $316.6 billion dollars for the economy of the United States annually.

Faith is also linked to lasting remission from addictions. Research shows that those who are in recovery for substance use disorders and addictions are more likely to remain sober if they have a strong sense of spirituality.

Among researchers, it is hard to dispute that spirituality in 12-Step programs is an essential part of the continued success of addiction treatment programs. Reclaiming our spiritual health is an important part of a lifetime of addiction recovery. 

The History of the 12-Step Program and Spiritual Growth in Recovery

The Twelve Steps were originally introduced by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in 1935 as a unique means of driving recovery from addiction. Along with the Twelve Steps, the group also adopted several traditions dedicating themselves to this cause, including to “carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.”

This guidance still drives addiction recovery today. Those who work in addiction recovery operate with a single-minded purpose: to help everyone who suffers from addiction, anywhere they are, wherever they are in their lives.

According to the Twelve Steps, one of the most important things to remember for those seeking treatment is that addiction is a disease. Not only that but there is also no one cure for addiction. Instead, it can go into remission, relapse is possible, and the most important thing is to work toward sobriety each and every day.

As part of this philosophy, practitioners emphasize the important need for spiritual growth as part of the treatment process. As many who suffer from addiction lose their spirituality as part of the dark and dangerous path they have walked, spirituality in the Twelve Steps and reclaiming it for oneself become vital for successful treatment and recovery. 

How the Twelve Steps Work (After Treatment)

For nearly nine decades, 12-Step programs have helped many people suffering from a host of addictions to find sobriety and a new lease on life. Time and again, researchers have found them to be one of the best and most effective ways to reach lifelong sobriety.

The Twelve Steps are not something that you just do during treatment. For those who have an addiction, you will likely repeat these steps many times. You will revisit them to gain strength in recovery, or you may repeat them after relapse.

But it is the hope you gain from spirituality in 12-Step programs that creates a lasting and effective period of recovery. You may never be free of disease, but the Twelve Steps are your friend that marches alongside you, picking you up when you fall and staying with you, no matter what.

Finding the Meaning of Life In Recovery

Research shows that people who reclaim their spiritual health in recovery are more likely to attend weekly meetings of their 12-Step program. They are also less likely to experience a relapse during recovery.

Spirituality in the Twelve Steps may also contribute to a more positive outcome in other areas of your life. In some research studies, scientists have found that people in recovery who embrace spirituality in 12-Step programs have lower stress and a higher quality of life.

The bottom line is this: having faith in God, the Bible, or some other spiritual center is not just about having faith in something else. It is about centering that faith in you so that you know your recovery is possible. 

Since the creation of the original Twelve Steps in 1935, these rules for living have played an integral part in the recovery process for those seeking to lead a sober life. Successful treatment for substance use disorders has leaned on this tried and true method for going on a century to lead people from addiction and into the light of a new day in recovery. As you have learned, the Twelve Steps and their spiritual component matter. Whether you rely on yourself or a higher power for spirituality, the Twelve Steps will continue to aid and advance your recovery. When you need help as you walk the steps, call your friends at Renaissance Recovery: (801) 308-8898.