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Came to Believe: Spirituality as a Mechanism of Change in Alcoholics Anonymous: A Review of the Literature From 1992 to 2012

Tusa, Anastasia L. MS, CRNP-PMH; Burgholzer, Jill A. MS, CRNP-PMH

Journal of Addictions Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/JAN.0000000000000003
Original Articles

Abstract: Over the last 20 years, there has been an increase in substance abuse research focusing on the efficacy of 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous. Results indicate that AA reduces relapse risk and works as well as cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational interviewing in reducing the quantity and frequency of alcohol use. More recent studies have focused on identifying the mechanisms of behavior change at work in AA, especially the use of spiritual practices in the maintenance of sobriety. These findings are compared with the role of spirituality described in AA literature to expand the understanding of these processes in recovery from substance use disorders.

Author Information

University of Maryland School of Nursing, Baltimore.

The authors declare that they have no pecuniary or other personal interest, direct or indirect, in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript. No funding was obtained for this article, and there was no involvement of pharmaceutical or other companies.

Correspondence related to content to: Anastasia L. Tusa, MS, CRNP-PMH, 7 Tarland Court, Baltimore, MD 21236. E-mail:

© 2013International Nurses Society on Addictions

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