Many people who are learning about recovery are concerned about how religion factors into many existing programs and approaches. This is especially true in regard to Alcoholics Anonymous, which is the largest and most well-known recovery program. The Alcoholics Anonymous was founded as a Christian-centered program, but it is also a space that is inclusive of people of all faiths, or from no faith at all. To truly reap the full value of a recovery program, it is important to understand the role that religion does and does not play.
Is Religion Critical to Recovery Programs?
Many people who search for help during recovery find a great deal of value in embracing or returning to their faith. That is why it is very common for people in attendance at AA meetings to speak out about their religious beliefs and experiences. People turn to spirituality to find their place in the world, to seek comfort, love and a sense of belonging. Many can attain those benefits outside of traditional religion, and that is a perfectly acceptable way to move through recovery.
Are Non-Believers Welcome in Recovery Programs?
People of all faith traditions, as well as those who are staunch atheists, are always welcome in recovery programs. In fact, one of the foundational principals of recovery programs is tolerance. Tolerance for the belief of others is central and is deeply entrenched throughout AA and other programs. Non-believers should also know that they will not be alone in meetings. Many people have let their faith lapse, are questioning their beliefs or have no religious belief system at all. Everyone comes to the program on the same level and builds up from there. http://www.my12stepstore.com/Not-God-Book.html
Where to Begin?
For those who are concerned about how religion factors into recovery, perhaps the best advice is to begin down the path with an open mind and open heart. The journey through recovery is different for everyone, and there is no way to predict how religion might impact that process. In many ways, this is a matter that will sort itself out as an individual regains health, strength and perspective. Just know that the program itself requires nothing in the way of religious belief to be a powerful force for change.
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