AA has come in for a good deal of criticism for its supposedly religious emphasis; I only know that I felt great spiritual freedom in the fellowship, and when God came to me, it was in a manner powerful and convincing and uncoerced. I had an hour of genuine ecstasy in a dark little apartment. I began to measure the distance between the idols I had worshiped -- academic brilliance, intellectual up-to-datedness, cultural sophistication -- and the beauty and abjectness of my new relationship with God. In this new relationship I was naked and needy, calm and happy, fulfilled and doubting. I was human.

Yes, the first requirement in handling addiction is treatment -- competent medical help. But recovery is something else. Because the drug and drink quest is in its doomed way a journey of the soul and spirit as well as the body, recovery is a thing of the soul and spirit too. When recovery happens, it transforms addicts by alchemizing their vulnerability and brokenness into something new, wondrous, and a bit strange. Something that no longer fits easily into our compulsive, perhaps radically addictive, society. The recovering addict’s hold on sobriety is bought with the coin of questions that all of us should be asking, every day.

-- Fred R., "Honoring Our Hunger for the Ecstatic," Utne Reader