Sunday, August 11, 2013

12 Steps :The spiritual/scientific basis of addiction recovery

National Geographic   [...] Since the inception of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.)—the progenitor of 12-step programs—science has sometimes been at odds with the notion that laypeople can cure themselves.

Yet the success of the 12-step approach may ultimately be explained through medical science and psychology. Both offer substantive reasons for why it works. [...]

The 12-step approach, said Paul Gallant, an interventionist with 27 years of sobriety, is "so popular with treatment centers because it's proven to work. When a person completes treatment, they have a place to go.

"Self-knowledge is not a sufficient treatment for alcoholism," continued Gallant. "I've worked with people who have had years and years of psychotherapy and intensive analysis, but it's brought them no closer to ongoing abstinence."

However, experiencing what Gallant called a "psychic change," which in the 12-step world is linked to the marvel of a "spiritual awakening," often results in a distinct personality and behavioral transformation that leads to long-term sobriety.

"The not-drinking is really just a part of it," Gallant said. "It's not drinking and changing as a person. That psychic change needs to come from a program of spiritual development, and so far the greatest success has been Alcoholics Anonymous."[...]

1 comment :

  1. Really nothing new here. The American Psychological Association's Division 36 is dedicated to what they call "The Psychology of Religion". They quote studies, have their own Journal and newsletters... the works...

    Rabbi Shais Taub wrote a book on the 12 steps from a Jewish, religious perspective. In it he has a photocopy of a letter that Carl Jung wrote explaining the spiritual basis for addiction recovery.

    Jung was the mentor of Rowland Hazard, who started the 12 step program. He and Freud didn't see eye to eye on the causes or treatment of mental illness.

    In the letter Jung actually quotes the Posuk in Tehillim "צמאה לך נפשי כמה לך בשרי", to explain the addicts spiritual yearning!!!

    Frankl's Logotherapy also sees mental illness as a search for meaning. I believe that some contemporary Humanists, like Peter Bregin explain it in a similar fashion.

    What's surprising is that our Heimishe therapists don't use these powerful tools more often....

    As the proof for the biomedical model for mental illness continues to crumble, there's hope that a Torah-true perspective on addiction and emotional difficulties will again flourish.

    Another reason might be that studies by Allport and others have shown that not all religious belief systems are beneficial. "Intrinsic" beliefs have a positive effect, while "extrinsic" beliefs don't necessarily.


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