The Role of Religion in the Alcoholic Anonymous Program

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“Alcoholic Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism (Alcoholic Anonymous, p. 1).” Spiritually is believed to play a major role in helping members of Alcoholic Anonymous remain sober. It is suggested that Alcoholic Anonymous and the inclusion of religion is based on a suggestion Carl Jung made to one of his alcoholic patient. Carl Jung was a psychiatrist who at times worked with persons suffering from alcoholism.

“After working with an American patient (Rowland) suffering from chronic alcoholism and achieving no significant progress; Jung told Mr. Rowland that his alcoholic condition was near to hopeless, save only the possibility of a spiritual experience. Jung noted that occasionally such experiences had been known to reform alcoholics where all else had failed. Mr. Rowland took Jung’s comments to heart and returned to the United States and joined a church. Mr. Rowland shared the comments made by Carl Jung with his friends and other alcoholics. One of the alcoholic he told was Ebby Thatcher who was a long time friend of the future co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous Bill Wilson. Therefore the influence of Jung is indirectly found in the formation of Alcoholic Anonymous original 12 step program and then into the 12 step recovery movement (Carl Jung, p.6).”

Not only does religion play an important role in the Alcoholic Anonymous program but so does service and unity among the members. I believe this unity enables the members to feel free to share their experiences with each other. I believe that the environment created due to group unity can be compared to the therapeutic environme...

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... Alcoholic Anonymous Lifesavers group helped members work through their problems by providing a supportive and caring environment where everyone can feel free to share their issues. The group also provides an environment that helps normalize the problems or issues that the group member is experiencing.


The meeting exceeded my expectations because it was much more productive than the previous meeting that I attended. As far as what questions remain for me, I would like to see what goes on during the closed meetings. How much influence does the sponsor has in the new member’s life. How long a member has to be sober to qualify to be a sponsor? In addition, I would like to know what happens if a member relapses? I am glad that I attended the Lifesavers meeting; it helped me realize that Alcoholic Anonymous is a helpful form of help for alcoholics.