Zen mind connects to the heart of recovery in this compelling blend of East and West. Courageously drawing from his lifetime of experience as an abused child, alcoholic, Zen student, and dharma teacher, author Mel Ash gives listeners a solid grounding in the Twelve Steps and the Eightfold Path and shows their useful similarities for those in recovery.
Mel Ash’s The Zen of Recovery brings the spiritual dimension to recovery, as it seeks the middle ground between 12-step programs and Zen Buddhism.
The three-part structure of The Zen of Recovery is based on an old Zen story. The first part features a background section about Zen Buddhism and Ash’s own gripping personal story of alcoholism. This section is followed by a collection of exploratory essays dealing with issues faced by people in recovery. The third section offers practical advice on applying Zen to the recovering listener’s life.
Kevin Young imparts gravitas and intimacy to this revealing and unabridged guide to spirituality and recovery.
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Useful bridge in early recovery
This is a very specific book I wouldn't recommend to anyone not actively attending 12-step meetings who doesn't already have some knowledge of Buddhist practice and teachings. If you do have these two qualifications, the book can be immensely helpful in helping you process the steps and make working them part of your daily practice.
I appreciated Mel's anecdotes and examples and would have happily listened to more of them. The author has a wonderfully casual sense of humor that helps remove the pressure from what can feel like very serious work.
The narrator spoke for the author with complete authority. His performance is so natural, it's easy to forget the voice you are hearing is not that of Mel Ash.
I did not actively try to assimilate the book but let it wash over me and seep into my subconscious. One thing perhaps is the sense that a higher power can be anything or anyone as long as it is beyond you, that is outside of you. After watching Pride and Prejudice recently, I decided my higher power looks like Laurence Olivier's Darcy in the sense that if Larry were to turn his eyes upon you and look directly at you, it would feel like what it must feel like to have God look at you. This heart pounding exhilaration and all consuming warm glow. Silly, maybe, but its nice to have the visual image and this little joke to pull out my pocket when the idea of God seems too intangible to apply to everyday life.
- Alicia Grega
excellent merger of recovery and Zen