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Podcast Assignment #1: “On Being: Astonished by the Human Comedy”

This episode of the podcast On Being, features writer Mary Karr discussing her conversion to Catholicism late in life. This conversion was prompted by her choice to become sober. Karr largely credits her faith for her ability to remain sober. This prompted my consideration regarding the spiritual nature of many recovery programs popular in the United States. The most well-known of these programs is Alcoholics’ Anonymous. The founders of AA were concerned that the Biblical roots of their program would minimize its popularity. However, Christianity is ubiquitous in the United States and doesn’t appear to be a barrier for many recovering addicts. Rather, the concept of spiritual awakening and rebirth inherent in religion-based recovery programs has a strong appeal to those working to attain and maintain their sobriety.[Click Essay Writer to order your essay]

The co-founders of Alcoholics’ Anonymous, Bob Smith and Bill Wilson were members of a Christian sect that originally called itself the Oxford Group. In the 1930s, this revivalist group was considered by many akin to a cult and its founder was accused of targeting the wealthy when attempting to acquire converts (Szalavitz, 2010). [“Write my essay for me?” Get help here.]Smith and Wilson based their recovery program around a 12-step program that had a clearly Biblical foundation. However, even in the beginning, they worked to separate Alcoholics’ Anonymous from its Christian roots. Complete separation was not possible and AA is still considered a religion-based program whose success relies heavily on spiritual awakening.

The co-founders’ feared that a religious recovery program would lack wide enough appeal. In the United States, it is illegal to mandate treatment that is religious in any way and the law often encompasses spirituality as well. For this reason, courts cannot mandate treatment programs involving or revolving around Alcoholics’ Anonymous. Despite the co-founders’ efforts, AA remains inextricably linked to its Christian roots. While the religious components of the program may turn some people away from it, the foundation in Biblical beliefs and the very concept of spiritual awakening are often exactly what attract those seeking to attain and retain their sobriety. [Need an essay writing service? Find help here.]

Karr, M. (2016, October 13). Astonished by the human comedyOn Being.

Szalavitz, M. (2010, September 23). How religion was edited out of AA’s Bible: Early ‘Big Book’ manuscript soon to be published.

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By Hanna Robinson

Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.

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