Advanced Recovery: Emotional Strength and Spiritual Discovery

Working with people in recovery since 1964, we’ve seen the conflict between the spiritually-oriented 12-Step movement and the scientifically-minded health professions begin to reconcile. Health professionals are giving more importance to spirituality, and many people in 12-Step programs now augment their recovery with psychotherapy and doctor – prescribed, mood-altering medications (e.g., anti-depressants). This article describes a model of spirituality and science that strengthens the recovery process.
If not sooner, the need for such a strengthening model is apparent at the stage of recovery in which relapse is potent. One client called this stage the “Grim Gray,” meaning that contemplating the rest of his life as an alcoholic in recovery held no new promise. Questions such “Is this it?” or “Is this all there is?” – asked by many people at the mid-stage of life takes on a special significance for the person in recovery who can’t resort to drugs or alcohol to buffer life’s disappointments. The impulse to “go out,” to relapse and return to drinking, becomes discouraging to people who thought they were fully committed to sobriety and recovery.

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