Date of Conferral







Susan Marcus


Addiction is a world-wide problem, and 12-step recovery programs are the most popular intervention, which incorporate a spiritual message in the recovery process. However, little research has explored how spirituality is experienced, and the meaning it has for individuals leading up to addiction, during active addiction, and in recovery using the 12-step model. Thus, this qualitative research study was conducted to explore the spiritual narratives of formerly observant individuals raised in the Orthodox Jewish community, who used a 12-step recovery program to recover from addiction and maintain sobriety. Cognitive dissonance theory and faith development theory were used to identify the stages and conflicts of spiritual development along with semistructured interviews of 8 participants. Thematic analysis revealed turning points in the spiritual narratives (childhood trauma, rebellion/downward spiral, addiction, early recovery and sustained recovery), and 6 themes emerged using in vivo coding: religious not spiritual (childhood education), pretending (loss of interest and trust), rebelling (delinquent behaviors), darkness (active addiction), rebirth (early recovery), and harmony (sustained recovery). The narratives revealed that spirituality was lacking in their rigid religious upbringings, and that spirituality in recovery is perceived as dynamic and positive. The findings of this study may be used to develop preventative measures and intervention strategies (e.g., community-awareness seminars, educational workshops) for practitioners, educators, and the families of individuals raised in the Orthodox Jewish community who are struggling with addiction, or potentially heading toward active addiction.