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The Effects Of Spirituality In Alcoholics Anonymous On Alcohol Dependence

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New research shows that attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings may increase spirituality and help decrease frequency and intensity of alcohol use

  • Alcoholics Anonymous is a widely known 12-step program that can help individuals control their dependence on alcohol, and spirituality is a large part
  • A new study shows that spirituality does increase over time, which can lead to better alcohol outcomes and an improved rate of recovery
  • These results indicate that spirituality is an important factor in the multi-faceted recovery from an alcohol-use disorder

Addictions, whether it is to drugs or alcohol, are a very difficult hurdle for individuals to overcome. But, there are ways to help people with their recovery through 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Many of these organizations, including AA, highlight spirituality as a very important factor, but the data surrounding its effectiveness have often been contested. 

However, new research shows that as attendance of AA meetings increase, so do the participants spiritual beliefs, especially in those individuals who had low spirituality at the beginning of the study. 

The results will be published in the March 2011 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View. 

John F. Kelly, lead author of the study, Associate Professor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Associate Director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, said that while spirituality is an important aspect of AA recovery, it is not the only way they can help individuals. 

"I've heard it said that AA is too spiritual, and I've also heard it said that AA is not spiritual enough for some people. Although this is not the only way that AA helps individuals recover, I think these findings support the notion that AA works in part by enhancing spiritual practices," Kelly said. 

The researchers assessed more than 1,500 adults throughout their recovery process, with data being gathered at three, six, nine, 12, and 15 months. The study utilized data on their attendance to AA meetings, their individual spirituality/religiosity practices and overall alcohol-use outcomes to determine if spirituality is indeed a mechanism of behavior change. 

The results indicated that there was a robust association between an increase in attendance to AA meetings with increased spirituality and a decrease in the frequency and intensity of alcohol use over time. One of the most interesting aspects of the research was that the same amount of recovery was seen in both agnostics and atheists, which indicates that while spirituality is an important mechanism of behavioral change for AA, it is not the only method used. 

"Many people will be surprised that alcoholic patients with little or no interest in spirituality attended AA and seemed to change even more than did those who had a pre-existing, strong sense of spirituality," said Keith Humphreys, a Career Research Scientist with the Veterans Health Administration and Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University. "AA is thus much more broad in its appeal than is commonly recognized." 

The researchers also noted that while spirituality is an important aspect of recovery, it is still not known how these beliefs work in complement or competition with other recovery methods, as there are multiple. 

"We have also found that AA participation leads to recovery by helping members change their social network and by enhancing individuals' recovery coping skills, motivation for continued abstinence, and by reducing depression and increasing psychological well-being," said Kelly. 

"Down the road it will be important to conduct more qualitative research as well as further quantitative replication of our findings in order to understand more about how exactly spiritual practices and beliefs influence coping and behavioral change in recovery from addiction

Source: 
John F. Kelly, Ph.D.
Center for Addiction Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital 
Keith Humphreys, Ph.D. 
Stanford University 
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research

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Summer Sky Treatment Center Houston Texas!

Summer Sky Treatment Center attended the 2010 Spectrum Conference hosted by the Houston Chapter of the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals. This years conference was The Thirty Seventh Annual Conference on Addiction Studies. It is a honor to help support such a great organization and be apart of addiction professionals serving those with substance use disorders across the State of Texas. Summer Sky recently opened up the new Detox Now Program. The Detox now program is created for those who do not want a 30 day stay in treatment, but desire to have detox take place. It is really geared to those who have had previous treatment or have a history of relapse. Please take a look at there website at http://www.summersky.us or call them at 1-888-857-8857.    


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Obama Announces White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Washington (February 5, 2009) – President Barack Obama today signed an executive order establishing the new White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will work on behalf of Americans committed to improving their communities, no matter their religious or political beliefs.

"Over the past few days and weeks, there has been much talk about what our government’s role should be during this period of economic emergency. That is as it should be – because there is much that government can and must do to help people in need," said President Obama. "But no matter how much money we invest or how sensibly we design our policies, the change that Americans are looking for will not come from government alone. There is a force for good greater than government. It is an expression of faith, this yearning to give back, this hungering for a purpose larger than our own, that reveals itself not simply in places of worship, but in senior centers and shelters, schools and hospitals, and any place an American decides."

The White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will be a resource for nonprofits and community organizations, both secular and faith based, looking for ways to make a bigger impact in their communities, learn their obligations under the law, cut through red tape, and make the most of what the federal government has to offer.

President Obama appointed Joshua DuBois, a former associate pastor and advisor to the President in his U.S. Senate office and campaign Director of Religious Affairs, to lead this office. "Joshua understands the issues at stake, knows the people involved, and will be able to bring everyone together – from both the secular and faith-based communities, from academia and politics – around our common goals," said President Obama.

The Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will focus on four key priorities, to be carried out by working closely with the President’s Cabinet Secretaries and each of the eleven agency offices for faith-based and neighborhood partnerships:

  • The Office’s top priority will be making community groups an integral part of our economic recovery and poverty a burden fewer have to bear when recovery is complete.
  • It will be one voice among several in the administration that will look at how we support women and children, address teenage pregnancy, and reduce the need for abortion.
  • The Office will strive to support fathers who stand by their families, which involves working to get young men off the streets and into well-paying jobs, and encouraging responsible fatherhood.
  • Finally, beyond American shores this Office will work with the National Security Council to foster interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world. 

As the priorities of this Office are carried out, it will be done in a way that upholds the Constitution – by ensuring that both existing programs and new proposals are consistent with American laws and values. The separation of church and state is a principle President Obama supports firmly – not only because it protects our democracy, but also because it protects the plurality of America’s religious and civic life. The Executive Order President Obama will sign today strengthens this by adding a new mechanism for the Executive Director of the Office to work through the White House Counsel to seek the advice of the Attorney General on difficult legal and constitutional issues.

The Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will include a new President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, composed of religious and secular leaders and scholars from different backgrounds. There will be 25 members of the Council, appointed to 1-year terms.

Members of the Council include:

Judith N. Vredenburgh, President and Chief Executive Officer, Big Brothers / Big Sisters of America
Philadelphia, PA

Rabbi David N. Saperstein, Director & Counsel, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, and noted church/state expert
Washington, DC

Dr. Frank S. Page, President emeritus, Southern Baptist Convention
Taylors, SC

Father Larry J. Snyder, President, Catholic Charities USA
Alexandria, VA

Rev. Otis Moss, Jr., Pastor emeritus, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church
Cleveland, OH

Eboo S. Patel, Founder & Executive Director, Interfaith Youth Corps
Chicago, IL

Fred Davie, President, Public / Private Ventures, a secular non-profit intermediary 
New York, NY

Dr. William J. Shaw, President, National Baptist Convention, USA
Philadelphia, PA

Melissa Rogers, Director, Wake Forest School of Divinity Center for Religion and Public Affairs and expert on church/state issues
Winston-Salem, NC

Pastor Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor, Northland, a Church Distributed
Lakeland, FL

Dr. Arturo Chavez, Ph.D., President & CEO, Mexican American Cultural Center
San Antonio, TX

Rev. Jim Wallis, President & Executive Director, Sojourners
Washington, DC

Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie, Presiding Bishop, 13th Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church
Knoxville, TN

Diane Baillargeon, President & CEO, Seedco, a secular national operating intermediary
New York, NY

Richard Stearns, President, World Vision
Bellevue, WA

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Recovery Slogans

In the rooms of 12 step groups all across the country and around the world you can  hear different slogans from members. Each one being unique and hidden with meanings. I remember when I first got sober listening to the different members share these quirky little statements and really pondering some of the slogans. Some of them were quite ridiculous and annoying. Each day that passed and I acquired another sober day some of those saying were all I had in the beginning. I was not fortunate to have a great sponsor to help me through the 12 steps at the beginning of my sobriety. I lived on slogans until I was introduced to the path that would change my life forever. I thought it might be fun to share some of the slogans and also receive any slogans you want with me on my blog. Please feel free to e-mail or post your favorite slogans.    

Sincerely,

Scott Kelley

********* If YOU ARE IN NEED OF HELP CONTACT Summer Sky Recovery Center they have some wonderful  drug and Alcohol treatment programs.  1-888-857-8857 24 HOURS A DAY!**************   


Faces and Voices of Recovery!

Get Involved! Have you been looking for away to get involved with making a difference with recovery? Do you think that it is time to let the world know that Recovery is possible? If you answered yes then visit the Faces and Voices of Recovery. This site is worth your time in browsing. http://www.facesandvoicesofrecovery.org