A debut meditation guide focuses on one of the founding principles of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Step 11 of the AA 12-Step Recovery Program urges addicts to seek an improved contact with God through prayer and meditation. The step is of a piece with a great many other components of the program, which has always stressed not only fellowship with other alcoholics, but also faith in a higher power. Cathy C. uses Step 11 as the centerpiece of her work, which opens with the personal story of how she was driven to drink in the aftermath of a horrific car crash that took the life of her fiance and so badly injured her (broken bones, a brain contusion, the loss of memory and motor functions) that when she fought her way back to some semblance of civilian life, her doctors referred to her as a “miracle patient.” It was through this combination of trauma and desperation that she found AA, where “God started doing for me what no human power could.” And it was in Step 11 of the 12-Step Program that she discovered the benefits of prayer and meditation (“The negative effects of my brain injury have decreased significantly since I have been consistently practicing prayer and meditation. I believe a big part of that is because practicing Step 11 is helping me have more emotional balance”). Her book is a careful, patient guide to teaching others some of the lessons about serenity and emotional control she learned the hard way. “You can start over with God any time you choose to do so,” she assures readers, and the bulk of the volume consists of straightforward and passionate encouragements for alcoholics to seek God through prayer, being mindful to set aside a regular time to “connect” with him. Her book includes 90 meditation exercises to help newcomers and experts alike. Although these meditations are overwhelmingly steeped in the vocabulary of monotheism, Cathy C.’s skill at generalizing her points about love and transformative caring should make the work of interest even to the most blatantly nonreligious reader who might come across her text.
An impassioned plea to restore God to an alcoholic’s recovery program.