• Hazelden Renewal Center

Spiritually Speaking

I was reflecting on community the other day and thinking back on all the people who have flowed through my life since I joined the community of recovery. There are those that have only come in and out with a face at some meeting or a chance greeting during and after in the halls. There are those that flow through our life and are indelibly posted as having great importance and then move on to other things or other places. One such person that I’ve been thing about lately is John McAndrew. Some of you surely know John or have … Continue reading

Prayer Primer

“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God….” Step 11 What is prayer? Prayer is conversation with an inner voice, a higher power, a felt presence. Many call this conversation partner God. Some use other names: YHWH (Jehovah), Allah, Gaia, Spirit. Whatever the name we give it, we seek contact through prayer and meditation. I learned the basics of prayer as a child. Since then I’ve learned to read beyond Dick and Jane and solve problems beyond arithmetic. Too often our prayer skills stop at a third grade level. As I age, my conversations with friends … Continue reading

Do the 12 Steps Lead a Person to a Specific Religion?

12 steps lead to religion

The quick answer to the question posed in the above headline is no. The 12 steps are a spiritual program developed through Bill W and others’ experiences of being in the grip of alcoholism. Bill W. was not the first, but was himself the beneficiary of another recovering alcoholic’s testimony of the power of working a spiritual program for recovery from alcohol. Bill W. explained in The Big Book (aka Alcoholics Anonymous) that before recovery he was not an atheist and did not believe many people really were. It was his assertion that atheistic belief would mean, “…blind faith in … Continue reading

With a Little Help from a Friend

help from friends

It was the last day of a graduate class I was teaching on the Spirituality of the Twelve Steps. I asked the class what was most striking to them from the lectures and conversations we’d had. As though she had been given the question earlier, a woman immediately shot her hand up. “I learned again and deeper that the most important word of the Twelve Steps is the first word, WE.” All of us in the room gasped a bit. She had said it. WE is absolutely foundational for our recovery. The gift, the grace of recovery is given in community. … Continue reading