Synopses & Reviews
We are all addicted in some way. When we learn to identify our addiction, embrace our brokenness, and surrender to God, we begin to bring healing to ourselves and our world. In Breathing Under Water, Richard Rohr shows how the gospel principles in the Twelve Steps can free anyone from any addiction—from an obvious dependence on alcohol or drugs to the more common but less visible addiction that we all have to sin.
"Spirituality is perhaps an ill-chosen word in this book's subtitle, given that Rohr's characterization of Christianity is (and always has been) relentlessly incarnational. Here his identification of the gospel with the core tenets of Alcoholics Anonymous underscores how redemption comes to us in and through the messes we make of our lives, not despite them. Anyone with first- or even secondhand knowledge of the Twelve Steps can attest to the unsettling challenges they present to safe, respectable, middle-class Christianity: 'When the churches forget their own gospel message, the Holy Spirit sneaks in through the ducts and air vents. AA meetings have been very good ductwork, allowing fresh air both in and out of many musty and mildewed churches.'" — The Christian Century
"Franciscan priest and prolific author Rohr (Falling Upward) is a perfect writer on the subject of the 12 Steps. He understands how radical a change they bring about, and that the 12 Step program is preeminently spiritual. His easy-to-read book is essentially a commentary on each of the steps, with twelve chapters and a postscript that concisely tackles the big religious question of human suffering, suffering with which addicts and their families are intimately acquainted. Jesus, Rohr answers, is no stranger to suffering. ...This is a good book for those in recovery from addiction and those who love them.—Publishers Weekly
"A perfect writer on the subject of the Twelve Steps, [Rohr] explains how the renowned AA program is preeminently spiritual and has the power to rescue people from the tidal wave of compulsive behavior and addiction by helping them 'breathe under water' and discover God's love and compassion. Rohr identifies the core Christian principles in the Twelve Steps and connects them to the message of the Gospels. His easy-to-read book devotes a separate chapter to each of the steps and ends with a postscript that concisely addresses the question of human suffering with which addicts and their families are initimately acquainted. The deep communion and compassion formed by shared pain allows those suffering from addiction to reach out to help their fellow sufferers. Rohr draws on talks he has given for over twenty years to people in recovery and those who counsel and live with people with addictive behavior, offering hope, understanding, and encouragement to anyone dealing with the codependence and dysfunction rampant in our society."—Joan Clear,Liguorian
….Breathing Under Water is a must-read for any person who recognizes the need to go “inward” on their soul’s journey to question what their relationship is with God, themselves, and others. The author guides us on a journey that begins with a powerlessness or being shipwrecked on a deserted island. It is God’s greatest surprise and constant disguise. We always want to be the manager of our lives. But God makes sure that several things will come our way that we cannot manage on our own. .…. What Breathing Under Water comes to be is an understanding that those people who have undergone suffering and pain come up to be a compassionate people, loved by God, to be there for others experiencing a similar challenge in life. Rohr summarizes that a graced moment from God is when the suffering people can love and trust a suffering God, and through this deep transformation, will save and be there for one another. — Paula J. Scraba, PhD., The Cord
Richard Rohr continues to guide us to greater wholeness. The latest example is his new book, Breathing Under Water. A prolific writer, his books have helped countless souls, especially those who struggle with issues of brokenness and seek transformation. — National Catholic Reporter (Read the full review.)
About the Author
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 contemplation and lived kenosis (self-emptying), expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized. Fr. Richard is the author of numerous books, including Everything Belongs, Adam’s Return, The Naked Now, Breathing Under Water, Falling Upward, Immortal Diamond, and Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi. Fr. Richard is academic Dean of the Living School for Action and Contemplation. Drawing upon Christianity's place within the Perennial Tradition, the mission of the Living School is to produce compassionate and powerfully learned individuals who will work for positive change in the world based on awareness of our common union with God and all beings. Visit cac.org for more information.