Reyna Gutiérrez Reynaga1, Patricia Andrade-Palos2, Alberto Jiménez Tapia1, Francisco Juárez García1
In alcoholism research, the exploration of the spirituality have a great importance. Some authors keep distance from this concept and it has been commonly criticized.However, other researchers (Gorsuch, Connors, Tonigan, and Miller) have agreed in pointing out to this and other variables, like religion for example, as important elements that protect individuals from addiction, also as factors that favor treatment and mediate in long abstinence periods. According to Morjaria and Orford, the assumption of a link between spirituality and alcoholism exist because is oneof the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) foundation. In the present, the work of AA is one of the most popular approaches in recovering from alcoholism, within Mexico and in other countries as well, and although its effectiveness over alcohol consumption is still debatable, not well documented and inconclusive. There is evidence suggesting that a regular participation in the group meetingscould benefit a lot of individuals; especially those whose participation in all the activities is more enthusiastic and those who develop more beliefs inside the groups. A key element in AA’s philosophy is the acceptance of a spiritual strength that comes from a bigger power than themselves (Higher Power: can be understood as a “whole” or the power represented by God), which helps in the recoveryprocess. AA acknowledge the importance of religious thoughts, and the relevance of spiritual tradition in the recovery of each alcoholic, however, the core of the treatment is not placed on these aspects, but it is on spirituality. According to AA, every individual may have his own definition of spirituality and it is outlined by his personal orientation. In that respect, Forcehimes, Kurtz, andKetchman said that spirituality is a transformation breakthrough marked by a personal experience of “spiritual awakening”, all resulting from regular participation to the meetings and from the daily practice of the twelve-step program. The twelve-step program represents one of the most important components in the recovery strategy of AA and reflects the spiritual nature of the program. DiClemente andGabhainn have noted that the practice of the steps has fundamental implications
in reaching and maintaining abstinence, especially for those who practice them on a regular way. However, available evidence about the benefits that each step brings to the alcoholics is still limited and sometimes controversial. There are very few investigations in Mexico about the role of spirituality in thealcoholic recovery process. AA have not been sufficiently studied and there is a lot unknown about their treatment strategies. The objective of this study is to know if the effectiveness of the practice of the 12 steps, the frequency of their practice, and the experience of the “spiritual awakening” (that AA consider as a consequence of practicing the steps) influence on the maintenance of abstinencein members of AA. The sample was non probabilistic and included 192 AA members from traditional groups (or “an hour and a half ” groups, named after the time meetings last) from southern Mexico City area. Individuals were divided in two groups: relapsed and not relapsed. The first group included 49 alcoholics (90 percent of males, 10 percent of females) who relapsed after an abstinence period ofthree or more months within AA (abstinence mean = 2.4 years). The second group included 143 subjects (86 percent of males, 14 percent of females) who have not relapsed since they entered AA or for a ten year period or longer. To determine the influence of the spiritual principles of the 12 steps program, a question was designed to measure the practice of each one of them, as well as a scale to...