While there are a range of ways that people break the cycle of addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and its Twelve-Step approach has become one of the most well known, accessible, and affordable ways (it’s free) to get clean and sober, and has come to signify the Western approach to recovery. It’s more than the promise of abstinence, however, that attracts people to the Twelve Steps.
“Addiction itself can be a misguided spiritual search,” says Kevin Griffin, author of One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps and cofounder of the Buddhist Recovery Network (BRN). “Many people who don’t see themselves as particularly spiritual find that when they get sober they have some longing in them, and that their addiction, in one form or another, has been a longing for connection. This is a very common experience.”