The Tao of Recovery: A Quiet Path to Wellness

The Tao of Recovery: A Quiet Path to Wellness
Published: 1997
ISBN: 0-89334-249-1
Format: Paperback

Chapter headings:

  • Preface
  • Part I: Being
    (The Mystery of Recovery; Flowing with the River; Knowing Myself; Trying Too Hard; Allow; Strange Thinking; Waiting; Easy Does It; The Mountaintop Is Rocky; I Surrender to Humility; Another Paradox; I Am Here; I Can’t Explain It; “If I Can Explain It, That’s Not It”; I Now Understand; Returning)
  • Part II: Awakening
    (Awareness; Wishing Will Not Make It So; Where Are My Feelings?; Insecure; Up and Down; Complacency; My desires Hold Me Back; Stopping Short; No Mind; Nothing Is Forever; Quiet; Emptiness Is Fullness; Sickness; There Is More; I Am Different; I Am Childlike; Names; The Universe Is Small)
  • Part III: Recovering
    (Powerless Is Powerful; Competition; Power in the Present; Contentment; Robber Barons; Lose and Win; Endings; I Won But I Lost; Gain and Loss; Success Is Not Success; Less Is More; The System; Unfair; Life Overvalued; Withered and Dry; Helping But Hurting; Work Without Working; Force; Nonviolence; I See Without Looking).
  • Part IV: Living
    (Community; Nature; Obligations; A Small Risk; Detachment; I Am Restless; Moderation; Low Lands; Motives; Heroes; Leaders Are Not Leaders; Chaos Attracts “Experts”; Cleverness; Cunning and Baffling; Meddling; Minding My Own Business; Nonaction Is Not No-action; Where Are All the Others?; Judge Not – Fear Not; Virtue; What is Great?; Small and Simple Are Great; Living But Dead; Responsibility; Abandonment; Hope; Abundance).

Selected excerpts:

I Now Understand (p. 31)

Yield and overcome.
Bend and be straight.
Empty and be full.
Wear out and be new.
Have little and gain.
Have much and be confused.

This is my favorite verse from the Tao Te Ching. But it was totally backward when I first read it. However, accepting the unexplainable is one of the gifts of my spiritual recovery.

My first efforts at letting go were self-willed, but the best I could do. Time and the support of some enlightened friends have helped me to comprehend the wisdom of this message.

I was lucky! I was forced to surrender, forced to make amends, lost everything, and now have everything that I value – peace, serenity, and loving relationships.

I now understand.

Community (p. 117)

Recovery leads to a sense of community.
Recovering people have a common bond.
Recovering people treat each other as longtime friends.
Recovering people become simple and honest with themselves.
Recovering people consider their fellows as their family.
Recovering people consider their fellows as their family.
Recovering people allow their fellows to live and die with respect.
Recovering people are special…but they are ordinary.

Abundance (p. 169)

Letting go a little improves life.
Letting go a lot brings happiness and joy.
Letting go of all things brings about an abundance of all things.
By letting go of all things, I become a child of the universe.
Being a child of the universe, I rest in the Great Mother…
And all things flow down to me in unbelievable abundance.
I am fulfilled, and I am grateful.

© 1997 Humanics Trade

 Order this book online at Amazon

Reviews posted:

Paul –

First published in 1992, this book is quite a different kettle of fish to The Tao of Sobriety. I must say that I was thrilled when I ripped open the Amazon packaging to see that it consisted of short, poetic reflections, each dealing with a recovery issue, rather than dense text. The passages are a response to Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, and in homage to that classic, it’s structured into eighty one short verses. The ancient Chinese atmosphere is reinforced with full-page sketches that accompany each reflection. Probably due to my very high expectations, I think the idea of this book appealed to me more than the book itself. While a few lines touched me, and the link between Taoism and the Recovery world is nicely conveyed, there was nothing I felt compelled to put in a frame or commit to memory (which is what I had been secretly hoping for). But I have no doubt that it will continue to find an enthusiastic audience due to the lovely way it is presented and the important Taoist/AA paradoxes it highlights.

Michael –

It was an interest in the Eastern Traditions, initially Taoism (pronounced Dow-ism), that was to lead me on my personal journey towards Buddhism. The gentle philosophy of Taoism and its basic text the Tao Te Ching still holds much personal appeal. I love so many of the Taoist concepts, like effortless effort (wu-wei) and harmony of opposites (yin yang), and this gentle yet moving book allowed me to revisit much of its timeless wisdom written with a recovery context in mind. Of course it was Bodhidharma (440-528AD), the Indian Buddhist Master, who brought Buddhism to China where it combined with Taoism to form the Ch’an (Zen) School of Buddhism. This explains my attraction towards Zen in all its wonderful paradox and emphasis on practice and the now. Obviously inspired by Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, this book is structured into short easy to read verses, drawn out of the author’s own involvement with recovery groups and Taoism. With a lovely combination of simple sketches that accompany each verse, they bring the wisdom of this ancient philosophy to the recovery process. This is not a book to be read through and then put aside. Its more like an old friend that needs to be revisited time and time again, giving ample opportunity to ponder, enjoy and reflect on its wisdom. It would make a wonderful resource for those interested in a companion book containing short passages on which to reflect and meditate. Taoism and recovery have indeed much to offer each other.