Episode 55 - Dr. Elizabeth Robinson: I Should've Could've Died: Spiritual Change in Recovery from Alcoholism

Monday, September 20, 2010, 8:30:47 AM

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In this episode, Dr. Elizabeth Robinson discusses her work on spiritual and religious changes associated with recovery from alcohol problems. Dr. Robinson notes changes in client sense of forgiveness and purpose as well as day-to-day religious practices and experiences. Dr. Robinson also offers insights about how to nurture the spiritual quest as part of social work practice behaviors.

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Average Rating: 3.8 stars (6 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 4stars  dismantling the taboo..., Friday, February 07, 2020

By Samantha Walton Wackford :

Given my personal and professional experiences in addictions and recovery work, Dr. Robinson’s insights and research on the role spirituality and religion plays in recovery from alcoholism comes as no surprise to me. The distinctions made between spirituality and religion is essential to the worker’s understanding of the client’s chosen path of spiritual healing and recovery. Working with clients from this strengths-based perspective serves as a source of empowerment, but also reflects a more self-directed approach to client’s recovery that returns a sense of hope and purpose and that facilitate transcending the chains of the addiction. In my view, this kind of intervention calls for critical analysis of the worker’s own personal biases, and how they can interfere with the client’s chosen spiritual path if they are not in concert with each other.
Of interest to me, is the taboo surrounding spirituality and religion in social work practice discussed by Dr. Robinson. In my line of experience, it is often the worker that is uncomfortable with the subject of spirituality and religion and not the client. In fact, since my time at my current field site, clients will often express heart-felt interest in spirituality groups independent of a specific religious orientation or whether they have worked the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. What is strikingly counter-intuitive, is the emphasis placed on cultural sensitivity outlined in the NASW Code of Ethics (2018) with narrow focus on the spiritual/religious aspect of cultural sensitivity. Since the empirical evidence on spirituality in addictions and recovery as discussed by Dr. Robinson supports the effectiveness of such interventions, then further exploratory investigations that crosses racial and national lines are well warranted and ought to be included as evidence-based practice in addictions and recovery work, but ought equally be reflected in the rule book that guides social work practice.

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Average Rating: 4stars  spirituality in practice, Monday, January 28, 2013

By Vianette :

TThis podcasts was quite interesting and insightful to me, for as a Christian, religion and spirituality merge all the time. I enjoyed listening to Dr. Robinson’s distinction between the two because it depicted the notion that spirituality can still work in treatment even if someone is not religious. Throughout the podcasts, Dr. Robinson discusses the impact of spirituality in recovery (particularly AA), the empirical evidence showing that spirituality works, and the way in which social workers can use it in practice among other things.
Throughout the podcasts, Dr. Robinson reiterates that spirituality can provide people with support and something to hope for. Her research supported this as she explains that results showed that spirituality positively correlates with “people’s sense of forgiving oneself and others, prayer and meditation, reading sacred texts, [the way one’s] purpose in life build’s up, and the use of negative coping strategies goes down.”
Additionally, one of the things I found most interesting was the way that Dr. Robinson attributed spirituality to social work’s strength-based perspective. She mentioned that spirituality can be seen as someone’s strength and that it helps them move forward and thus gives them hope for their future. Moreover, I enjoyed listening to information about Dr. Robinson’s research, as well as the implications she gave for social work practice.
Overall, I felt this podcast was great, as Dr. Robinson explained how spirituality helps recovery and gave ideas of how to implicate spirituality into practice without being disrespectful or imposing oneself on anyone. Her suggestion in needing more research across different parts of the country as well as different racial and ethnic groups was insightful, as social workers strive to be culturally competent and follow the NASW (2008) Code of Ethics to the best of one’s ability.

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Average Rating: 3stars  test, Monday, January 16, 2012

By Grant Skeets :

The podcast contained good information and was indeed a well detailed in the event of explaining how spritually you can end drinking problems. I also strongly agree that there is always something other than yourself to rely on when facing a problem such as the one described in the podcast. With that being said, there are many options for recovery and this podcast highlights the main one.

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Average Rating: 4stars  the spirit of healing, Monday, January 16, 2012

By Nathan Rehm :

Dr. Elizabeth Robinson does an excellent job of explaining that though not all alcoholics need a spiritual experience to encounter healing from alcoholism, it can offer strength and support for those seeking recovery. Dr. Robinson clarifies the significance in understanding spirituality as a personal journey toward transcendence and that religion is the social context of that journey. She also gives a quick but informing overview of current research that links spirituality to recovery, such as those in recovery reporting more hope and purpose in life when embracing spirituality. As it wraps up, she gives good perspective on how Social Workers work with their clients on issues of spirituality and faith and what future research may look like.

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Average Rating: 4stars  thank you dr. robinson!, Monday, March 21, 2011

By Helen O'Brien Brodnick :

Dr. Elizabeth Robinson discussed her views on spirituality and religiousness with alcoholics and how it can provide support to those who are seeking recovery. I think she did a great job answering Dr. Saboda questions specifically, regarding the difference between spirituality and religion. She talked about hope, and how a spiritual life gives those the support they need, and a connection towards recovery as well. I also found it interesting to learn that there is research to support her theories specifically, that there are lower levels of alcohol and drug use amongst people who have religious and spiritual involvement.
She discovered that spirituality and religiousness does change over time with those in recovery. Forgiveness changes, their sense of purpose also changes, yet their beliefs tend to stay the same regarding God.
She also studied weather alcoholics have had a gain in their faith or religion. She found that more alcoholics have had a life changing religious experience. She found that (47%) had a significant religious experience. She refers to these people as “those who have had experiences and situations that clump around should’ve, could’ve died.”
People reported having spiritual awakenings as well. Some had experiences from those who have died and had come to warn them, ultimately, to make their life better. She found that these people who have had these experiences, tended to drink less over time.
I found this podcast to be very insightful. I have not directly worked with alcoholics and never realized how significant spirituality and religion play towards their recovery. Thank you Dr. Robinson!

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Average Rating: 4stars  review of spirituality in alcoholism, Monday, February 07, 2011

By Corinne Miga :

Dr. Elizabeth Robinson helped me realize the importance of spirituality not only in the quest for recovery from alcoholism, but in any form of recovery. Dr. Robinson specifically discussed the use of it in alcohol treatment. Spirituality-a person's feelings, thoughts and experiences in search of God, can provide people with support as they embark upon a difficult journey to lead a sober life. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), a recovery program revolving around developing a relationship with God,
has support to show that if clients have faith their overall outcome is better. It is often seen that overtime spirituality helps clients to change their sense of forgiveness and increase their sense of purpose in life; people's perceptions of life change, not their beliefs in God. It is not only important for the client to have faith, but the clinician to convey faith in the client as well. As clinicians, it is important to express hope that clients can get through their struggles because it is very difficult to achieve sobriety and people can lose faith quickly.It is also important to express that if a client is alienated from
religion or spirituality they are not set up to fail but they most learn to be open-minded and find an AA group that they are comfortable with. Overall, Social Workers often stray from discussing spirituality, but it is something that we all need to be more open to without forcing a perspective. It is important for Social Workers to convey hope no matter what the client's situation is.

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