For anyone involved with a 12 step program such as Alcoholics Anonymous, here is an extremely useful guide to the integration of these two traditions. It has been an invaluable guide in my own recovery. I hope you find it as useful and enjoyable as I do:
9 Essays: Buddhism & The 12 Step Model of Recovery
These essays have grown from the Meditation and Recovery group which
began meeting weekly at the San Francisco Zen Center in 2000.
As we have studied the Steps and Buddhism together, sometimes from
one perspective, sometimes from the other, our collective experience and
wisdom has grown. Each time we have read and discussed the Steps---or the
Four Noble Truths or the precepts or the concept of no-self---a bit has been
added to our understanding.
Although these essays have been written by one person, they represent
the experience, strength and hope of many.
The structure of the group has changed as well. As of this writing, we
begin with a short reading on some aspect of meditation. These writings
come from a variety of Buddhist teachers in many of the traditions. There
is then a short meditation instruction, followed by twenty minutes of silent
sitting. We introduce ourselves and the speaker of the week shares for about
20 minutes. (When the group first began, the author led each week. Over
the years, a number of others have been invited to be regular leaders of the
group. The criteria for leading are five years in a Twelve Step program and
having taken Buddhist precepts.) The floor is then opened for discussion for
another twenty or twenty-five minutes and we end with a final five minute
meditation and offering of merit. The meeting lasts for an hour and a half.
This information is included for those who may wish to start their own
groups. The format is, of course, flexible and should be responsive to the
needs of the members.
It is also for this reason that we have decided to make these essays available---
as a beginning text for those wishing to explore the connection between practice and recovery.
In accord with the traditions of anonymity in Twelve Step programs, the
author remains unnamed. And in the spirit of gratitude which marks both
paths, these essays are offered to anyone who has use for them, without
copyright. They may be distributed free of charge. Our only requests are
that the attribution to the San Francisco Zen Center remain, that this introduction be included
and that copies not be sold for profit.