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Addiction, spirituality and 12-step programmesDrawing on qualitative data, this article attempts to clarify the language of spirituality as used in relation to addiction and recovery. It explores what is meant by ‘spirituality’ in the context of 12-step programmes followed in the numerous anonymous mutual help groups which address the problem of addiction to a variety of substances and behaviours, and raises some of the most frequently cited problems with a ‘spiritual’ approach. It argues that wariness on the part of social workers (and other professionals) of 12-step programmes on grounds of their religious/spiritual dimension may benefit from reconsideration. It also suggests that social workers might be informed and empowered to support those individuals and families who chose to seek recovery through the 12 steps.