Early on in the creation of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which was the first 12-Step program, founder Bill Wilson remained adamant about using the term “God” in the group’s primary literature. While noble, this unwavering commitment to the use of “God” was causing one major problem: It was keeping non-religious people from joining.
After understanding this truth, Bill Wilson and the other members of AA came to a compromise. They would now use the phrase “God (or a Higher Power of your understanding).” Although they knew spirituality was a major part of their program, they realized that this would be irrelevant if people never chose their program in the first place.
Why do we bring up this historical telling of the development of 12-Step programs? After all, we have no direct affiliation with them (though we do believe in their method and mission). We tell this story as an example of our own ethos and mission. Our primary purpose is to help your daughter recover, and that even surpasses our personal belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The Teachings of Jesus Christ in Our Recovery Program
In the spirit of full disclosure, we here at Clearview Girls Academy have a devotion to God and fervent faith in the teachings of Jesus Christ. However, just as with AA in its infancy, we implore you to look past that if it is going to dissuade you from getting your daughter the care she needs.
Just as we hold no monopoly over the best way to recover, we hold no monopoly over spirituality. We offer a recovery program, not a religious one. We do discuss God, offer God-based activities, and connect with God-based programs. However, this is not for “indoctrination,” it is to offer an opportunity for spiritual growth.
A big aspect of Clearview Girls Academy is working on spiritual growth. Yet, it is critical to understand that spiritual growth is different than being religious. Being religious is not a requirement for recovery. Acquiring spiritual growth, however, can be extremely helpful in getting there.
Spirituality Over Indoctrination in Our Recovery Program
There is an appendix in the primary text of AA (often referred to as “the Big Book”) that focuses solely on the spiritual experience. The appendix states that “We find that no one need have difficulty with the spirituality of the program. Willingness, honesty and open-mindedness are the essentials of recovery. But these are indispensable.” We too believe that spirituality is not a requirement for recovery. It may, however, be an unintended result.
The appendix ends with a powerful quote by the 19th Century British philosopher, Herbert Spencer. He states, “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation.” We feel you must avoid this as parents when your child is struggling. You must look past your preconceived notions for the betterment of your child’s recovery.
The Benefits of Spirituality in Recovery
We feel that there is a lot of wisdom in the concept of “God (as a Higher Power of your understanding).” This helps us get past the focus on religion in recovery because religion is much different than spirituality in recovery. While the two are often taken in tandem, they can most certainly exist exclusively from one another.
While don’t attempt to influence our students into the Christian religion, we do offer it as a roadmap or compass to find their own sense of spirituality. Many of the students who come to us here at Clearview Girls Academy are struggling with finding their place in the world. We feel that gaining some spiritual growth can help them find that place. Spirituality can help them understand that their life has meaning and that their part in the community matters.
All Can Recover if They Have the Capacity to Be Honest
Going back to the tenets of AA’s 12-Step program, they make clear in a chapter entitled “How It Works,” that “All can recover if they have the capacity to be honest.” Notice it doesn’t say all who can recover if they have “the capacity for God,” or “the capacity for religion.”
Yes, we believe spirituality can greatly help our students access deep and lasting recovery. But no, we do not make spirituality a requirement. If you are hesitant about sending your daughter to Clearview Girls Academy because of religion, we ask that you first hold your contempt prior to investigation and allow yourself to explore the wide variety of benefits we can offer. This just may include a new or renewed spiritual connection to a higher power that your daughter defines for herself.
We here at Clearview Girls Academy utilize the teachings of Jesus Christ to exemplify the benefits of living a spiritual life. However, we do not force our students into accepting the teachings of Christianity as their gospel. We are a recovery center, not a place of religious indoctrination. However, we believe and have found that incorporating some form of spirituality into a life of recovery can be incredibly beneficial in the long term. Yet, this does not mean that it is a necessity. We believe that as long as a student has the capacity to be honest, communicative, and put in the hard work, they too can recover. For more information, please contact Clearview Girls Academy today at (888) 796-5484.