The Power of Prayer: Research Shows That The AA Prayer Reduce Cravings

Research Shows That The AA Prayer Reduce Cravings

Alcoholics Anonymous has proven to be very helpful for recovery addicts. Recent research shows the effectiveness of the AA prayer to reduce cravings. See here!

Keyword(s): aa prayer

Addiction is a misunderstood ailment that is often handled poorly.

Even those who have been sober for years can have cravings from time to time. 

That's why the AA prayer can be extremely comforting. 

Repeating a motivational phrase can do wonders for your recovery.

This is especially true when you are struggling to stave off cravings.

Prayer may seem like a shallow, trivial answer to a serious problem. 

But many people in recovery use prayer as a way to stay motivated and focused on their ultimate goal.

Some recite the AA prayer sometimes taught in group sessions.

Others use their own mantras, whether or not they are religious. 

Regardless, prayer is a cornerstone of the recovery process. 

There are decades of anecdotal evidence that says prayer can help recovery.

There are even some people that say constant prayer was the chief reason for their recovery in the first place.

Now, there is scientific evidence supporting what thousands already knew. 

Researchers at the NYU Langone Medical Center have conducted a study that may prove the link between prayer and rehabilitation. 

This study may be the key in the argument that prayer can reduce alcohol cravings.

The Study

Scientists found 20 AA members who been with the program for a while.

They showed the members potentially triggering pictures.

This included pictures of alcohol and alcohol related situations. 

No participant had been craving alcohol in the week before the study. 

The scientists conducted two rounds of the study.

In the first round, the AA members were asked to read a newspaper after viewing the images. 

In the second round, the members recited a prayer after viewing the images.

According to the study, every participant felt that their cravings were lessened after praying.

The same could not be said for reading a newspaper.

In fact, the participants said that their cravings were reduced far more after praying than reading.

Marc Galanter, the senior author of the study, says that although the images triggered responses in all the participants, praying allowed their minds to respond differently. 

Essentially, he explained that the comfort that Alcoholics Anonymous can bring someone is reinforced by praying.

In times of crisis, when an alcoholic is on the verge of relapse, praying can be a stabilizing force. 

Praying can remind you of your support structure, and all the work you have put in to your sobriety. 

And this prayer doesn't have to be in the form of a long meditation session.

Sometimes, it can take only a few minutes to curb your cravings.

The AA Prayer

Again, prayer can be anything you want it to be.

A personal mantra, a line of scripture, or a motivational quote would suffice, as long as it helps you curb your cravings.

But the most common prayer recited at meetings and a saying that is rooted in the fabric of Alcoholics Anonymous goes as follows:

"God grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference."

This AA prayer was supposedly brought to the attention of the founder of AA after it was printed in a newspaper obituary. 

It is a beautiful, uplifting passage.

The message is that it is impossible to rewrite the past, but it is possible to shape our future. 

The best thing to do is to spend time on the things we can control, rather than lament the past. 

Focusing on things you can't change will only slow the recovery process.

There are sometimes other prayers recited in tandem with each step you take during the process. 

Depending on your group, you may or not recite these prayers.

But there is no question that regular prayer can do wonders for a recovering alcoholic.

Why Prayer Matters

Previous studies have shown that people who prayed every day for four weeks drank much less than those who didn't.

In fact, people who prayed typically drank half as much as those who did not pray. 

But prayer can also be instrumental in your long-term sobriety.

Scientists have hypothesized that there is a direct correlation between recovery and spirituality.

Those who consider themselves spiritual have a lower chance of relapse and weaker cravings. 

According to some research, a spiritual person can have different brain chemistry than non-spiritual people. 

So what does this mean?

Regardless of your religious beliefs, prayer seems to work.

Even if it is only a way to reassure yourself of your sobriety.

Praying, along with utilizing the chip system, can be very effective.

Some people find an attachment to a higher power after achieving sobriety.

But for others, it is simply a matter of being more aware of your body. 

Yoga, meditation, and eating well can contribute to this. 

A healthy lifestyle rooted in spirituality promotes feeling content about yourself and your place in the world. 

And the longer you adhere to this lifestyle, the easier it gets.

If you take care of your body, the cravings will subside. 

A lot of the time, taking care of your body begins with the mind. 

Prayer can quiet your mind and give you comfort.

Everyone needs an assuring voice in their heads during moments of uncertainty. 

For recovering alcoholics, these moments can happen almost daily.

Why can't that voice be your own?

You may not think that reciting prayer is for you, especially if you did not grow up religious.

But if you are not comfortable reciting someone else's prayer or the AA prayer, try your own!

It can be as simple as, "I can do this."

Or even, "I don't need this."

Prayer can reinforce this belief to your mind until eventually, it becomes second nature to refuse alcohol. 

If you have a personal prayer that you are comfortable sharing, tell a close friend or others in your group.

When you are having a particularly powerful craving, your support systems can remind you of all you went through on your path to sobriety. 

Do you have any questions, thoughts, or experiences? Leave a comment below and continue the discussion!