• Addiction and Forgiveness

      Dossett, Wendy; Cook, Christopher C. H.; University of Chester; Durham University (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2018-09-21)
      This chapter explores the role of forgiveness in the personal stories of people in long-term recovery from addictions.
    • Addiction, spirituality and 12-step programmes

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Sage, 2013-05-01)
      Drawing 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.
    • A daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Wiley, 2017-02-02)
      Beliefs and emotions are commonly accepted features of spirituality, but spirituality also includes ‘disciplines’ and ‘practices’. While ‘professional’ language and the ‘spiritual’ practices of 12-Step may be framed differently, they are not substantively different discourses.
    • Kleśas and Pretas: Therapy and Liberation in Buddhist Recovery from Addiction

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Equinox, 2020-04-24)
      This article offers an analysis of Buddhist approaches to addiction recovery in the terms of some of the key debates in addiction/recovery studies. Buddhist recovery teachings are analysed for the extent to which they embody models of addiction which construe the problem as a disease, as a moral problem, as a problem of powerlessness, as a problem of control, as a choice, as a social or a personal problem, and as continuous (or not) with putative saṃsāric experience. They are also analysed for the extent to which recovery is modelled as a change of identity or of practices, and how far “recovery ideals” align with Buddhist soteriology. The article exposes philosophical and epistemological diversity across Buddhist recovery pathways, and argues that the therapeutization of Buddhism (Metcalf 2002) is inadequate as a categorical frame.
    • Reflections on the Language of Salvation in Twelve-Step Recovery

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Bloomsbury, 2015-12-17)
      ‘In return for a bottle and a hangover we have been given the Keys to the Kingdom’ (The ‘Big Book’ Alcoholics Anonymous) Many who find recovery from alcoholism through the twelve steps speak implicitly or explicitly in terms of a salvific experience. Active alcoholism is experienced phenomenologically as a totally hopeless condition from which there is no escape; yet escape is made possible for millions by the discipline of the twelve steps and the support of twelve step mutual help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and/or treatment centres. For many, the profound transformation of recovery from a hopeless and terminal condition can be understood only by reference to a Higher Power, or even a transcendent being, and thus the experience is understood as ‘spiritual’ in nature. In a volume which interrogates and widens discourse about salvation, this chapter questions the utility of soteriological language in the context of addictions recovery. Is such language in this context descriptive, or normative? What are the risks in using it? Are new languages of release from addiction being developed? The chapter draws on some case studies from the Higher Power Project, a qualitative study of spirituality and recovery at the University of Chester to explore these questions.
    • Religion, Spirituality and Addiction Recovery: Introduction

      Dossett, Wendy; Metcalf-White, Liam; University of Chester
      Religion, spirituality, non-religion, and the secular (Lee 2014, 2015) are unstable categories that are nonetheless routinely reified by academics, clinicians and practitioners alike, and positioned as fundamental to experiences of addiction recovery. For instance, addiction is often framed, dramatically, as a spiritual malady, yet, just as often, as simply a poor moral choice. While ideas associated with religion or spirituality play out differently in those contrasting diagnoses, the role of religion and spirituality in their aetiology is evident. We (Wendy Dossett and Liam Metcalf-White) argue that the categories of religion, spirituality, and non-religion, as they to relate to addiction recovery, need further analysis than they receive in the clinical literature. This literature frequently presents them as extra “technologies of the self ” (Foucault 1988); either functionally worthwhile or not (Szalavitz 2017); rather than as embedded in the very culture and discourses in which addiction and recovery are named and experienced. We argue for a focus on the latter as more productive for an understanding of the field.
    • Spiritus Contra Spiritum: Spirituality, Belief and Discipline in Alcoholics Anonymous.

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Equinox, 2020-03-15)
      The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) suggest that the solution to alcohol addiction may be found in ‘a power greater than the self’. Carl Jung, who engaged in a correspondence with one of AA’s founders, asserted that medicine, even analytical psychology, could be of limited use to a sufferer. He agreed with AA that the problem was of a spiritual nature and a solution was to be found in a spiritual awakening. This chapter explores the ways in which members of Alcoholics Anonymous identify their recovery as ‘spiritual’. It demonstrates that much contemporary AA engagement deviates considerably from its Christian theistic roots and sits more comfortably within the holistic milieu. However, the practice of ‘spiritual discipline’ central to the Twelve Step programme captures an easily overlooked feature of AA, and one which also sets it apart from self-soothing and happiness-seeking features of contemporary well-being spirituality.
    • Twelve Step Mutual Aid: Spirituality, Vulnerability and Recovery

      Dossett, Wendy; University of Chester (Routledge, 2017-12-27)
      This chapter considers whether the lenses of counselling and New Religious Movements help to understand the phenomenon of Twelve Step recovery from addiction.