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A Refreshingly New Perspective,
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This review is from: A Burning Desire (Kindle Edition)
When Bill Wilson wrote the Big Book in 1939, he grounded the spirituality of the 12 steps in the Christian revivalism of the Oxford Movement. While this played well at the time, it has over time become an antiquated framework that has become difficult and awkward for many to work with. In the past 20 years, an overly doctrinaire and literalist approach to the original wording of the 12 steps has led to others going their own way (into more fundamentalist, Buddhist, Islamic or secular support groups). Those feeling shoehorned into an uncomfortable framework have in many cases simply walked away from the otherwise invaluable social support that groups like AA can offer. Some who have been legally ordered into groups like AA have filed suits and won on the basis that their First Amendment rights of religious expression have been infringed (federal appeals courts, Second and Ninth Circuits).
The time is ripe for a more fluid and less theistic form of spirituality for those currently seeking a greater sense of freedom and flexibility in their recovery programs. Griffin shows how this can be achieved by adopting key teachings of Buddhism and applying them to the traditional 12-step framework. While Griffin uses Buddhism as a starting point, he does not ask the reader to simply accept new beliefs but rather to open oneself to new teachings and practices that can have a beneficial effect in achieving serenity through meditation and mindfulness training on an everyday basis.
Griffin must be seen as a key player in the mindfulness and recovery movement now espoused by psychotherapists like Thomas Bien and also the "personal science of self-transformation" movement represented by people like Dan Siegel, Rick Hanson, and Jack Kornfield. Although AA "old-timers" wedded to the fundamentalism of the previous 70 years are likely to be suspicious of such new perspectives on the steps and recovery, Griffin, Bein, and the others represent the most intellectually and spiritually viable way for the step-centered recovery movement to go forward into the future.