Alcoholism/Drug AbuseReligion/ Spirituality

Changes in spirituality and religiousness during treatment of heavy drinking

Here’s a study of the change in spirituality and religiousness among alcoholics during treatment and the associated changes in drinking outcomes.

Half of the 10 measures of spirituality changed significantly in 154 adults who participated in an Alcoholics Anonymous treatment program over 6 months.

  • Daily spiritual experiences
  • Use of religious practices
  • Forgiveness
  • Positive use of religion for coping
  • Feelings of purpose in life

At the same time, the use of alcohol decreased significantly.

Interestingly, the core beliefs and values about God or religion didn’t change among the participants. Thus, it appears that changes in core beliefs and values are not necessary in order for someone to be more open to spiritual experiences or take part in more spiritual activities as listed above.

The researchers concluded that these results “support the perspective of many clinicians and recovering individuals that changes in alcoholics’ spirituality and religiousness occur in recovery and that such changes are important to sobriety.”

3/19/07 21:27 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.