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Eight step recovery meetings

An open heart is all you need to bring to a meetingWe have received several requests on a meeting format for Eight Step Recovery – Using The Buddha’s Teachings to Overcome Addiction. Already we have heard of groups setting up in the UK and Canada which are working the steps with a wide range of addictions. We hope groups will continue to spring up all over the globe. When the book goes into second edition we will include a meeting format as we can see that this was an aspect that we didn’t consider to include.

To be able to write a book and explain our Eight Steps, we need to put them in an order. The order has a certain logical structure that can be helpful to follow. While we recommend working through the book sequentially, we realize that in the messiness of our everyday lives, some of us may prefer to move back and forth between different steps and stages. Depending on what is happening in our lives, the challenges and opportunities we are facing, and how inspired we are feeling, we may respond to and want to practice different steps. Moreover, we are likely to need to revisit different steps again and again as our understanding deepens and as we ourselves change.

In each Step there are exercises to practice. It may seem like it is breaking your flow, but we want you to slow down and reflect before moving on to the next idea. We also encourage you to pause after each Step, and we introduce a three minute breathing space (AGE) to help you do this.’ Eight Step Recovery – Using The Buddha;s teachings to Overcome Addiction Mason-John and Groves

Here are suggested meeting guidelines:

If there is more than one person there are enough people for a meeting.

What’s said in the room stays in the room

Be kind to yourself, and in turn be kind to others

And have fun – enjoy your recovery

Gathering format
Two hours is a good length for a meeting, but sometimes this is not always possible so we would suggest between one hour to two hours.

Always begin with the Three minute breathing space, AGE – have someone lead it – you can read it directly from the book. It is at the end of every step.

If you only have an hour, we suggest that you recite the steps in call and response. The person with the longest amount of sobriety and abstinence could call the steps, and the others in the group repeat each step back. This way it can create inspiration. Groups are always fluid, so this will change. If someone is celebrating a sober birthday, you could ask them to read the steps out.

If you have 90 minutes or two hours, we suggest you do the above and then have a short check in – people taking a minute to reflect on one step a week as a check in. This would mean that every week you get to do a short reflection on one of the steps.

Below we have some statements or questions to prompt a short reflection on each step. Invite people to say their name and then give them the prompt for their reflection.

Step One: Accepting that this human life will bring suffering.
Prompt for check in could be: Today accepting that human life will bring about suffering feels like…

Step Two: Seeing how we create extra suffering in our lives.
Check in – One way I can create extra suffering in my life looks like this…

Step Three: Recognizing impermanence shows us that our suffering can end.
Check in – Something I need to let go of in my life today

Step Four: Being willing to step onto the path of recovery, and discover freedom.
Check in – How willing I am to step onto the path of recovery today? or What is one aspect of freedom I have discovered since being on the path of recovery

Step Five: Transforming our speech, actions and livelihood.
Check in – How can I begin transforming (choose one to check in on – either speech, actions or livelihood)

Step Six: Placing positive values at the center of our lives.
One thing that is at the center of my life? Is it positive or negative?

Step Seven: Making every effort to stay on the path of recovery.
Check in – How can I be making more effort to stay on the path of recovery?

Step Eight: Helping others to share the benefits I have gained.
Check in – Something I could do this week to help share the benefits I have gained

After the check in, focus on a text from the book. There are several ways of doing this. You can work through the book chronologically beginning with the foreword. Or you can ask someone to select a text that they would like to focus on. If the group is closed then it is appropriate to ask people to do reading at home and come prepared. However there will be meetings that are open and people will drop in or not turn up every week, which is perfectly fine. Both kinds of groups can work. If it’s the latter we advise each week someone will need to read a piece of the book out, or as a group you can pass the book around and read from it for ten to 15 minutes and then discuss the topic.
There are also meditations attached to the book, so some meetings you could choose to listen to a meditation and then discuss how the meditation was for you. There is a website listed at the back of the book where you can download all the meditations in the book for free.

Meanwhile here is a link to a set of 21 free meditations for recovery that you may like to use too. 21 free meditations
(If you only have one hour you would only have time to do a meditation or discuss or read a piece of the text. If you have 90mins to two hours you will be able to do both. Read a text and discuss, and do a short meditation and discuss).

We suggest ending the discussion with the reflection what you can take out into the world.

Finally you could conclude by saying the five precepts together in English and then ending with the three minute breathing space AGE.

Everything that has been suggested is included in the book.

Eight Step Recovery is out now: Eight Step Recovery – Order your book now

Or try a free sample – For a free sample chapter of Eight Step Recovery – Using The Buddha’s Teachings To Overcome Addiction please email: eightstepsrecovery@gmail.com

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About Vimalasara

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Dr Valerie Mason-John is a member of the Triratna Buddhist Order. She is currently co-writing Eight Step Recovery - Using the Buddha's Teachings to Overcome Addiction. She teaches a weekly meditation class - Meditation for Addiction. She is the author of seven books, including, Detox Your Heart, a book on working with anger, fear and hatred. She is available for talks, seminars, workshops and retreats. Read more articles by .

Comments

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Comment from Linda Ayers
Time: June 4, 2014, 2:37 am

Love this guidance towards wholeness, health, and sanity.

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