Narcissism A Barrier to Personal Acceptance of the Spiritual Aspect of Alcoholics Anonymous
Twenty-nine newly recovering alcoholic outpatients drawn from a Minnesota-Model type treatment program in the United Kingdom completed the NPI narcissism scale and the “Steps Questionnaire.”
Results showed the narcissistic “authority” subscale showed a very strong inverse relationship to level of personal acceptance of Steps 2 and 3 (the so called “God” steps) of the 12-Step program embodied by Alcoholics Anonymous.
Also, the narcissistic “superiority” subscale showed a significant inverse association with acceptance of Step 3.
The present results suggest that, relative to their more humble counterparts, recovering alcoholics who score high on narcissism are particularly reluctant to accept the spiritual aspect of the program of addiction recovery advocated by AA.
In particular, results suggest self-centered outpatients are reluctant to surrender their willfulness and thereby accept help from a transcendent yet immanent Divine Source of power.
We tentatively conclude narcissism, or lack of humility, might serve as a psychological barrier that inhibits the tendency to seek assistance from or become fully engaged in faith-based community self-help groups that might facilitate sobriety.
As a result of their reluctance to accept empowerment from spiritual resources, narcissist alcoholic clients might be vulnerable to dropout or minimal engagement in professional treatment based on AA principles, as well as relapse.
Keywords: Alcoholics Anonymous, 12-Steps, spirituality, religion, personality, humility, narcissism, surrender, recovery, treatment acceptability, dropout, relapse. Research; Kenneth E. Hart & Cherry Huggett. Narcissism A Barrier to Personal Acceptance of the Spiritual Aspect of Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, Volume: 23 Issue: 4, 2005