Forgiveness and purpose in life as spiritual mechanisms of recovery from substance use disorders
Spirituality has often been associated with recovery from substance use disorders through its emphasis in faith-based rehabilitation programs. The purpose of this article is to describe some psychological dynamics that may explain how spirituality aids in the treatment of substance abuse and dependence. Forgiveness and purpose in life are proposed as ‘‘spiritual mechanisms’’ that partially mediate a spiritually directed recovery. Recent empirical studies on spirituality and recovery from substance use disorders are discussed in relation to 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and Christian principles in order to describe how forgiveness and purpose in life interact with spiritual development in substance use disorder treatment programs. A theoretical model detailing the relationship between spirituality, forgiveness, purpose, and recovery is presented based on anecdotal and empirical literature.