Ordinary Recovery: Mindfulness, Addiction, and the Path of Lifelong Sobriety

Shambhala Publications

The key to ongoing freedom from alcoholism or any other kind of addiction is right before us, here and now, in the ordinary and perfect present moment. The problem is that addictions are often the result of our efforts to escape living in the present in the first place. Bill Alexander’s unique approach uses mindfulness, story, and meditation to help alcoholics and others learn to come back to the present moment and find healing there.

Emerging scientific research suggests that mindfulness (a nonjudgmental awareness of our moment-to-moment experience) can help prevent addiction relapse. Ordinary Recovery is a revised edition of Alexander’s book Cool Water, with a new foreword, a new preface by the author, updates throughout the book, and a new resources section.
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About the author

William Alexander is on staff at the Harzelden Foundation in Minnesota, where he teaches meditation and leads workshops in Ordinary Recovery nationwide.
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Additional Information

Shambhala Publications
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Published on
Oct 12, 2010
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Psychology / Psychopathology / Addiction
Religion / Buddhism / Zen
Self-Help / Substance Abuse & Addictions / General
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For baby boomers and beyond—an honest, often humorous look at how staying clean and sober takes on a new dimension as the challenges of aging are thrown into the mix.

"Funny, courageous, and empowering. In exploring the richness of his own life, Alexander celebrates and invites us to discover the uniqueness and wisdom within ourselves. This book is a gift to those of us who are old, and even more, perhaps, to those who are young." Zen Master Dennis Genpo Merzel, author of Big Mind, Big Heart: Finding Your Way ,"Moving between the intimacy of self-revelation and the universality of spiritual wisdom, Alexander takes us on an absorbing and illuminating journey to the outer edges of life." Kevin Griffin, author of One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve StepsOut of author William Alexander's personal reflections and hard-won insights emerges an unconventional approach to the challenges of achieving and maintaining real sobriety--"a radical way of living on this earth, endlessly honest, open, and willing"--that come with aging. Beginning with the admission that we are as powerless over growing old as we are over our addictions, Bill takes readers on a journey of discovery and, in doing so, overturns the clich鳠of age, revealing how he was able to let go of old ideas about "self," experience meditation in a new light, and discover the virtues of simplicity. With one foot planted in the principles of AA, and the other in his ever-evolving personal spiritual journey blending Eastern and Western traditions, Hi, I'm Bill and I'm Old helps people in recovery embrace the unique challenges that come with age as lessons for reinventing their own sobriety.William Alexander is a writer, storyteller, and teacher who leads sobriety workshops at such venues as Union Theological Seminary, the Esalen Institute, and Hazelden Foundation. He is the author of Cool Water and Still Waters.
To those of us who look at Los Angeles and see no sense at all, Landscapes of Desire offers a vivid and rewarding account of the particular visions that drove the period of Anglo dominance in the Los Angeles region, from about 1850 to about 1985. William McClung's fascinating essay, supported at every point by wonderful illustrations, shows that Anglo settlers and developers wanted nothing more than to make sense of their surroundings, but that their two dominant paradigms were at war with each other. Anglophone Los Angeles, McClung says, has tried strenuously to reconcile two competing mythologies of place and space: one of an acquired Arcadia--a found natural paradise--and the other of an invented Utopia—an empty space inviting development. The collision between these two underlying ideals is still present in the ambivalence at the heart of the city's and region's understanding of themselves.

The Arcadian dream of nurturing inherited beauty entailed idealizing the region’s Hispanic past. Yet that past was simultaneously belittled by the utopian vision of arid landscapes watered into Anglo plantations and ranchos reshaped into cities.

From Helen Hunt Jackson's 1884 novel Ramona to the work of artists David Hockney, Edward Ruscha, and Terry Schoonhoven in the 1960s and after, Los Angeles has been an arena of competing and often incompatible constructions of ideal place and space. Looking at architecture, landscaping, literature, historiography, painting, conceptual art, and such ancillary activities and crafts as booster pamphlets, real estate promotions, and citrus box labels, McClung presents a new and refreshingly revisionist view of the city’s growth. Examining designed spaces, including buildings, parks, freeways, and whole neighborhoods and communities, he gives readers a strong sense of the contradictions, failures, and triumphs that continue to govern L.A.'s image of itself.

Los Angeles Times Best Nonfiction Book of 2000
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