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12 Steps to Spiritual Freedom: Understanding the Christian Roots of Twelve Step Programs

12 Steps to Spiritual Freedom: Understanding the Christian Roots of Twelve Step Programs

Joanna Thyer
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RRP $39.95

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12 Steps to Spiritual Freedom is the second edition of Joanna Thyer’s original groundbreaking work, Steps to Life, A Spiritual journey with Christian Mysticism and the Twelve Steps (ABC Books, 2004). The original linked personal stories with the Christian mystical tradition, and the social and psychological origins of the self-help process that became the Twelve Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, so brilliantly conceived by Bill Wilson and Dr Bob Smith in the 1930s.

12 Steps to Spiritual Freedom expands on the original book with a deeper exploration of the author’s personal journey and the Ignatian exercises, to reveal how the program works and explore the wider human journey. This book will appeal to those who are already in 12 Step programs seeking deeper spiritual development and those with no belief at all, wanting to explore and deepen their own personal journey. For an understanding of how one can grow through grief and loss, this book will also be useful to health professionals as well as people interested in spiritual growth.

“Without exaggerating, this is really an excellent book! Not only does Joanna Thyer write very well, and in an engaging way, but she knows her sources--from the perennial Tradition of wisdom and saints, from the Scriptures, and from her own living experience. Read, and be taught well, even if you are not formally in any recovery program! This guidance is for all.”
– Fr Richard Rohr, OFM
Center for Action and Contemplation
Albuquerque, New Mexico

“This invaluable book explores the connections between the transformation journeys of 12-step programs on the one hand, and Christian – and especially Ignatian – spirituality on the other. Both lead the pilgrim from utter vulnerability to life-changing transformation. In both the pilgrim must surrender to the wilderness that lies between the place of un-freedom and the place of promise. Joanna Thyer brings to this exploration an authority forged in her own painful personal experience illuminated by profound spiritual insight, both of which she shares with disarming honesty and humility. Whether you come to the journey as a 12-step participant or a spiritual searcher, or both, you would look far to find a more authentic guide.”
– Margaret Silf
Author and Retreat Leader

JOANNA THYER has worked as a hospital chaplain and counsellor in the areas of trauma debriefing, grief, relationship and workplace issues. She currently works as a University Multi-Faith Coordinator, and Coordinator of a community pastoral program for PLWHA. She holds degrees in Psychology and Theology and has published 5 other books. She lives in Sydney, Australia.


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