The Power of Meditation Beyond The 12 Steps

Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

These are the words of the eleventh step in the famous twelve step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Throughout the course of Alcoholics Anonymous, the primary text of the fellowship, there is talk of meditation and how it should follow prayer. The two practices together create what is called a “two way communication channel” with the higher power one forms a relationship with through the preceding steps. Prayer is the act of talking to a higher power and meditation is the act of listening. Creating quiet time to receive the light, love, word, and wisdom of a higher power is healing and instructive. It is emphasized as an essential that addicts and alcoholics in recovery practice both prayer and meditation to keep that channel of communication open at times outside of prayer and meditation.

Alcoholics Anonymous was published in 1935. At the time, meditation was not a widespread phase undergoing the tremendous amounts of scientific research it has had to face in today’s world. Today, thousands of studies exist on whether or not meditation “works”, and, if it does work, what exactly meditation does. Studies have found that meditation primarily reduces stress and the effect stress has on both the body as well as the brain. Reduced inflammation, which is linked to many illnesses and diseases, is an effect of meditation on the body. Improved heart health, digestive health, and overall health as well. Mentally, meditation reduces symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. For those recovering from drug and alcohol addiction, meditation has been proven to reduce the strength and presence of cravings for substances.

One of meditation’s most impressive benefits is on the structure of the brain. There are two kinds of matter, or material, in the brain: gray and white. Gray matter is full of new synapses, which are the tiny connections the brain makes to form new information and send that information throughout the brain. White matter is the matter in between the areas of gray matter. Meditation improves the production of gray matter, promoting more growth of brain matter which increases knowledge and information.


Castle Craig emphasizes the experience of the 12 steps in our treatment programmes for drug and alcohol addiction. When patients leave Castle Craig, they are restored in optimum health of mind, body, and spirit. Our model is proven, helping patients find success in long term abstinence for over 25 years. Call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line: 0808 256 7958 for more information. From outside the UK please call: +44 808 271 7500

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