The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) has held a consistent testimony of abstinence and moderation regarding alcohol and other substances. This paper outlines the historical background, and describes modern Quaker understandings of moderation. It then outlines hitherto unpublished results regarding spirituality from the only study to date about Quaker behaviour and atttitudes regarding substance use. The association between low substance use and religiosity is established in the literature, but the role of spirituality is less defined. This study methodology allowed an unusually detailed analysis of different aspects of spirituality. Results generally support Miller’s suggestion that idiographic spirituality may have a role in resilience to higher substance use. However, spiritual practice through prayer/meditation emerges as having a more consistent role in the Quaker sample—a finding that is of interest and potential significance in considerations of resilience and recovery. The community dimension of shared spiritual attitudes towards substance use, and the spiritual values that underlie the interpretation of testimony, are also explored. The congruence that some Quakers find with the spiritual approaches of Alcoholics Anonymous is also discussed. It is concluded that spirituality is a significant factor in a Quaker balance that can mitigate immoderate use and support recovery from addiction, without, in general, excluding those who use at higher levels.
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