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Breathing Underwater: Spirituality and the 12 Steps

4.4  ·  Rating details ·  1,262 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
In this powerul two-tape audiocassette program, Christians are told they must learn to breathe underwater to survive the tidal wave of compulsive behavior and addiction.
Audio, 0 pages
Published March 1st 1989 by Franciscan Media
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Meredith MacInnis I am reading 'Breathing under Water - Spirituality and the Twelve Steps' and it is helping me tremendously with current issues. It is very well…moreI am reading 'Breathing under Water - Spirituality and the Twelve Steps' and it is helping me tremendously with current issues. It is very well written and accessible. What I mean by accessible is that the writer seems humble yet knowledgeable. MM(less)
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May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
found myself quibbling a bit with his spirituality (from a Lutheran point of view), and I am tired of the "Do you worship Jesus or follow him?" dichotomy (to me, it's a both/and). But the 12th chapter, on the 12th step, was worth it all.

from the "Big Book": "so our troubles are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves; and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-well run riot, though he or she does not think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was less of an explanation of the Twelve Steps and more of a commentary on them. Good insights, as always, from Richard Rohr. I especially appreciated his point that all of us are addicted, especially to our own way of thinking. We all are powerless and in need of trusting a higher power. Easy to read and simple message.
Dan Bonner
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was an excellent book that I will reference over and over again. It forced me to think differently about certain things I spent my life time believing.
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i'm finally getting around to typing up some of my notes from books i read in 2014 and i'm not sure how i wound up giving this book four stars instead of five. as always disclaimer: what follows may not be of interest if you're not in recovery and at least somewhat positively disposed toward mr christ.

this is basically just a guy putting each of the classic twelve steps in a deep, smart, and soulful christian context, but not the fast-food version of christian context -- jesus is magic, we love
Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the 12 Steps, a small and wonderful book by one of my most favorite priests, Father Richard Rohr, is a reminder of, as a friend of mine says, "who we are and what we are"-beings founded in love who struggle to find that love which we are. Fr. Rohr looks at the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous in the light of the Gospel and Catholic faith and find a deeply spiritual path.

I was touched, refreshed, and challenged by this work. I started to list it on my "self
Nov 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
All students of the Twelve Steps know that God and spirituality are the foundation of a successful program of recovery . In this book, Fr. Rohr is making the valid case that many people in our society today are much like the unrecovered addict ( sans the drugs ) in their emotional and spiritual makeup. He makes the further point that many adherents of the Christian church ( I believe he is singling out Catholicism ) have not addressed their spiritual issues and emotional makeup with anything app ...more
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Sometimes in pursuing true spirituality, we need to go back to the basics. This book gives a lot of help by clarifying some of the basics and providing inspiration for areas where one is “stuck.” It’s an extremely helpful book for addictions of the mind, for the healing of recurring unhealthy thought patterns and habits.

The 10th step of continuing to take personal inventory and admitting promptly when one is wrong can be powerful for anyone, but perhaps of particular help to those suffering from
Mar 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is a great book to grab when you find yourself in the grips of any sort of desire, addiction, or affliction, be it in the form of substance, compulsive behavior, or addictive thoughts. Those who, however, are still offended or wounded by dualistic religious or biblical experiences, will likely be turned off and stop after the first chapter (or page - each chapter begins with several quotes from scripture that correspond to the step the chapter is about). Those who choose to open themselves ...more
Jackie Hilaire
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One step at a time.

A few weeks ago I visited a man who has been following the 12 step program for over 20 years. On one of my visits I asked if we could go through the steps together and he picked up his book and began to read the steps one by one, flipping over the pages so fast that I didn't have a chance to dialogue with him. He read them, put the book down and that was it. This is a very depressed individual and full of guilt and shame, I was hoping to bring about a more shameless and guiltl
Andrew Doohan
In his usual easily accessible style, Richard Rohr provides a study of the underlying spiritual dimension of the Twelve Step program used by organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous and other similar groups.

The beauty of Rohr's exploration is that his exposition of the spiritual side of the Twelve Steps has much to offer those who wouldn't normally be exposed to the Twelve Steps, those who simply seek to live out their Christian journey with some degree of integrity.

For anyone who fits that ca
Sep 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: catholic
I like Richard Rohr, but he often makes me roll my eyes, sometimes straying what I feel is too far off the range in search of "authentic" spirituality. But not here. Following the time-tested methodology of AA's 12-step program, Fr. Rohr ties each to spiritual wellness, making concrete his metaphor (or maybe even a simile) of sin as an addiction, an addiction to anything. He portrays sin as being too attached to something, even a good thing, like food or prayer.
Jan 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading this book about Spirituality and the Twelve Steps. The author raised some very good points in the book about how to apply these 12 steps to our own lives in order to deepen our spirituality. I would not have chosen to read this book on my own so I'm glad that it was part of my spirituality class assignments. It was very enlightening and I do see where some of the steps would be helpful or even practical if applied in our lives.
Nancy Janzen
May 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Rohr feels in the history of Christian spirituality that 12-step spirituality is America's great contribution to the movement forward of our faith. A regular attender of AlAnon meetings, I would have to agree. This is a great book that reviews the 12-steps and how they helpfully breakdown and allow anyone to regularly practice a profound spirituality with Christ at the center. A nice introduction to Richard Rohr's writing and teaching style.
This was an amazing book - a great way to look at Christian spirituality and the 12 steps. It's an amazing paradigm shift from how we look at our spiritual lives today. The way Rohr delves into the 12 steps leaves the reader with a lasting impression. I borrowed this book from a priest friend on Kindle - but I think I'm going to have to purchase a physical copy for myself to re-read it. Highly recommended.
Barbara Hosbach
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fr. Rohr has a gift for expressing profound spiritual truths in ways that are both powerful and easy to relate to. Breathing Under Water draws connections between the non-demonminational spirituallity of Twelve Step Programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and the heart of Gospel living. This book shows the universal relevence of the twelve step principles for anyone seeking to grow spiritually.
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This says it is audio cassette but I read a soft cover version and loved it. I think Richard Rohr is my current favorite author. This is a wonderful book about how 12 step spirituality connects with Christianity. It is religion without dogma. He calls himself a radical traditionalist and I relate to the way he speaks.
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
...this is quite possibly the most important/impactful/transformative book I've ever read.

There were times when I nearly threw the book across the room, because I was so freaked out and so overwhelmed by the Grace that was being presented. A few weeks ago I would've thought that was hyperbole- it sounds ridiculous, I know...but that's how it was.

That being said, I'm not sure if this is for everyone. My extreme reaction to the book kind of makes me feel like it was just super, super, super relev
Nov 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I hardly know what to say about this book. It was exactly what I needed when I needed it. Richard Rohr has such a perceptive and clear view of the human experience and how God wants to breathe new life into us. It is breathtaking. In this volume Rohr looks at the twelve steps through the lens of Jesus’ teachings. He provides critique of the Church is its varied manifestations and also shows how we can grow and heal as a community and individually. I highly recommend this book and I cannot wait t ...more
Laura Checkett
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've now read this 3x and it continues to floor me. Rohr also offers an online 3 month class which I'm currently doing with a group of friends. He is unmatched as a theologian and continues to shine a light on all the dark crevices--slowly revealing it was all apart of our reconciliation. A must read for those who wrestle with surrender.
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has been my reading before meditation for about the past month. I appreciate Rohr's no nonsense style where spirituality is concerned. Addiction is a problem for many of us--whether it is with alcohol, drugs, food, or even with our own ego. I liked the way this priest was able to pull the lessons from the core alcohol recovery program to guide us all towards a closer relationship with God.
Gregory Martin
Aug 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book says it all

For and to this alcoholic who has suffered so. I have learned that I have had to die to live and that God thru grace and mercy has brought about this transformation. This is just a marvelous marvelous book from a man who is very close to the Divine
Chris Starr
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing read. So enlightening, powerful, and thought provoking. A book that every person could use to effect change in their life on a most profound level. Not just for people in twelve step programs, but a program for everyone!
Mike Mclane
Jul 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great companion to the Big Book of AA

I enjoyed this book after working the 12 steps provided Catholic perspective to my spiritual experience in recovery I have read a number of Richard's books and find them to be very helpful
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in the context of Christian spirituality, the Twelve Steps is a process of repentance. Rohr's book is an excellent, winsome, and practical introduction to the Twelve Steps in Christian perspective.
David Ryan Silva
Fantastic Author

Awesome. Loved every word. Richard Rohr is brilliant. A must read for all who are interested in spirituality. Highly recommend.
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
Helpful, if selfish
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As Fr Rohr says, whether you're a 12 stepper or not, the 12 steps can improve anyone's life.
Nate Perrin
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A good examination of AA and the twelve steps and the Gospel message behind them. One of Rohr's less controversial books, I would argue.
Christopher J. Corrow
Great biblical look at the 12 steps.

I read in a group, it's a book that should be read and reread. We are going to jump right back in.
Lynda Hunley
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great book comparing 12 steps to bible.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Breathing Underwater by Richard Rohr 3 3 Apr 01, 2012 06:54PM  
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Fr. Richard Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fr. Richard's teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy—practices of contemplat ...more
More about Richard Rohr...
“Christians are usually sincere and well-intentioned people until you get to any real issues of ego, control power, money, pleasure, and security. Then they tend to be pretty much like everybody else. We often given a bogus version of the Gospel, some fast-food religion, without any deep transformation of the self; and the result has been the spiritual disaster of "Christian" countries that tend to be as consumer-oriented, proud, warlike, racist, class conscious, and addictive as everybody else-and often more so, I'm afraid.” 92 likes
“...religion either produces the very best people or the very worst.” 22 likes
More quotes…