De profundis: spiritual transformations in Alcoholics Anonymous. Academic Article uri icon


  • The mechanism of change in Alcoholics Anonymous is described as "spiritual transformation." A.A. acknowledges that such transformation can occur gradually; however, nearly all of the examples presented in the Big Book of A.A. involve discrete and sudden experiences that resemble the phenomenon of quantum change. The sequence offered describes how spiritual transformations transpire. The sequence begins with hitting bottom, recognition of inability to control the problem. A feeling of contrition follows, describing not only sorrow for the present state, but also desire for a new way. The final step is the act of surrendering one's will to a higher power. The de profundis sequence sets the process of spiritual transformation in motion, offering stabilization to sobriety.Copyright 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

publication date

  • May 2004