Experiencing Spirituality, Finding Meaning Through Storytelling

Book cover imageFifteen-some years ago I picked up a copy of “The Spirituality of Imperfection.” Co-authored by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham, it has been a favorite of mine ever since, a book I return to often for guidance and insight. This new offering, Experiencing Spirituality, Finding Meaning Through Storytelling, by the same team, has now joined the first on my shelf of favorite spiritual reads.

In this book, in some ways similar to the first, they address spirituality, not directly by talking about it, but through a collection of wisdom stories sewn together with commentary to create a work that communicates the experience of spirituality. The author’s have divided the book into fifteen sections. Each section examines a single idea, such as community, forgiveness, memory, confusion, recovery and so much more.

This is the kind of book that you can pick up and open to any page for something to contemplate at that moment, or go to a specific topic that you wish to explore. The commentary is masterful and enlightening, while allowing the stories to tell the story.

Five stars and highly recommended reading.

    1. Since quitting alcohol I have been on this slow tar like journey to learn more about spirituality so this is going straight into my Kindle.

      Thank you.

      Any other books on mindfulness and spirituality that you can recommend?

      Lee Davy


        • Hi, and welcome! Besides The Spirituality of Imperfection, mentioned above, I highly recommend Beginning Mindfulness, by Andrew Weiss (which is great for beginners, and goes beyond that) and The Mindful Path to Self-compassion, by Christopher K. Germer, PhD.


            • Hi Ron,

              Thanks for this. I have just downloadedThe Spirituality of Imperfection through Audible and it’s now my new running buddy. I will check the other titles out in due course.

              Thanks for the speedy response and keep up the good work.



    1. There is a Kickstarter Campaign under way to help get the only documentary ever created about Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, on PBS.
      The opportunity only exists through November 20th, 2015!
      Ernie Kurtz is in the documentary!
      For more information please visit:



Review: How To Have Fun in Recovery


Title: How To Have Fun in Recovery, by Lisa M. Hann

I have to admit I was skeptical about the author’s topic before I began reading. I know from speaking to people in early recovery that the questions of boredom and fun come up more often than not, and I’ve always taken the stance that those things will work themselves out after the person has established a solid base of recovery. Lisa has not only put together a strong message of hope and encouragement for those just beginning to live sober, she has convinced me to change the way address those questions in the future.

This is a short piece, easily read in one sitting. I recommend it for anyone out there who are wondering, “What am I going to do for fun now that I don’t drink?”


Title: 365 Ways to Have Fun Sober, by Lisa M. Hann

It’s companion book is a day-to-day compendium of a year’s worth of suggested things to do for fun without drinking.  Some as mundane as “Sing in the shower,” some as involved as take a day trip to a city you’ve never visited. I have to say I had intended to read 10% the entries for this review, but became so engrossed at the variety and scope of the list that I ended up reading cover to cover. No one is going to find every suggestion helpful, of course, but anyone, in recovery or not, will find a lot of things to do that they would never have thought of. Highly recommended.

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Review: Why You Drink and How To Stop: Journey To Freedom

Cover Art “I do believe that instead of getting lost in the ‘why’ you are an alcoholic, it’s far more important to figure out what you are going to do about it.” – Veronica Valli, Why you drink and How to stop: Journey to freedom

Addictions therapist and recovered alcoholic Veronica Valli has written, in words from the heart, a solid, practical resource not only for those who have or think they might have a drinking problem, but also for those who have a friend or loved one who may. I know a few addiction counselors who would be better for reading it, too.

Well organized and easy to read, she covers a great deal of ground, from alcoholic behaviors, denial and unmanageability to finding help, self-discovery, relationships and co-dependance, and much more. The section on overcoming the possible roadblocks of past spiritual and religious beliefs is as direct and to the point as it is sensitive and enlightened. Not an easy feat considering that topic.

The three main sections of the book are:

  1. ALCOHOLISM – What it is (and isn’t).
  2. THE PROBLEM – Veronica nails the problem, including what she believes and I agree is “The World’s Best Kept Secret” concerning recovery. (Sorry, my lips are sealed. :))
  3. THE SOLUTION – An in-depth discussion from beginning the journey to eventually living your authentic self.

The book is sprinkled throughout with illustrative narratives from other recovered alcoholics and case studies from her counseling practice. It should prove an inspiration to anyone affected by alcoholism or other addiction. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

4 thoughts on “Review: Why You Drink and How To Stop: Journey To Freedom”

    1. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community.
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Book Review “Between Drinks”

Full title: Between Drinks: Escape The Routine, Take Control, and Join The Clear Thinkers

In this amazing little book, author David Downie writes of his experience with setting down the drink for a predetermined time as “an experiment,” and discovering a richer, more meaningful life because of it.

I was skeptical about (what I thought was) his premise when I received the request to write a review and more so when I started reading the author’s drinking history, a history that includes both a blog and a book celebrating beer and the merits of the culture surrounding it.

The simple fact is David Downie has distilled the essence of the 12 Steps and packaged it for us here. I would recommend this book to anyone, with the “true-blue alcoholic” as a major exception, as the author himself points out.

He delivers pints of wisdom liberally sparkled with humor throughout. Included are vivid descriptions of his life as a drinker, as well as what his life has become after the experiment. Along way, he offers general actions anyone who wishes can try for their own experiment with life between drinks.

If this book had been available thirty-some years ago, it likely would have saved me and everyone else in my life a lot of heartache. Five stars and extra kudos for a book well done.

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    Book Review “Soul Recovery”

    Full title: Soul Recovery: 12 Keys to Healing Addiction . . . and 12 Steps for the Rest of Us–a Path to Wholeness, Serenity, and Success

    Ester Nicholson relates her personal story of recovery from addiction with brutal honesty and a clear message of hope. Her program of healing is solid, and could easily be life enhancing, if not life saving, for anyone who wishes to accept a New Thought style of spirituality.

    Since everything in the book that is “beyond the 12 steps” concerns that specific style of spirituality, there is little help “for the rest of us.” Still, the above strengths rate a three-star rating for an otherwise one-star book.

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    Book Review: A Recovery Journey

    In three small volumes, John T. Marohn gives us a penetrating, starkly honest view into his personal inventory process. The details of his life are there to let us know what it was like, yet they remain low-key throughout the series. Unlike so many other recovery books today, he weaves the details of his past into the narrative of where he is today and how he got there. Most refreshing of all, there is not the slightest hint of the victim mentality that taints so much of the genre.

    Book I opens with the author at his bottom and voluntarily entering rehab. From there, we enter his journey of self-discovery, into his thought process as he worked through his fears, delusions, maladaptive behaviors, and conflicting beliefs, to name a few of the items covered. The chapter on surrender alone is worth the price of the book.

    Book II continues with excellent treatments on such topics as fear, identity, healing, and relationships. The second book also includes priceless insights into happiness, hope, and authenticity.

    In the third volume of the trilogy, the author waxes philosophical on topics ranging from “The Perils of Certainty” to “The Divinity Within” and more while maintaining his focus on what it all means to his recovery and growth.

    Throughout the three volumes, I found many of my own notions validated, some challenged, and much that I’ve yet to even consider. Anyone who is recovered or recovering, or is wondering what an honest and thorough personal inventory might entail, will be better for reading this series.

    Book Review: Undrunk

    UNDRUNK:  A Skeptic’s Guide to AA, by A. J. Adams, © 2009

    Undrunk: A Skeptic's Guide To AA

    As a long time member of Alcoholics Anonymous, I found this book to be a moderately entertaining peek inside the complex organization that is AA.  It’s a good basic primer for folks who are wondering if AA might work for them, with the author explaining his personal experience with the 12 Steps (one year when the book was written,) including his misgivings and misconceptions going in and lessons learned.

    The book suffers, however, from overlong explanations which became tedious very quickly.  I was also disappointed that the author didn’t cite his sources in those sections dealing with AA history.

    I have mixed feelings about this book.  Anyone wishing to know what AA attendance is like would do better to go to a dozen or so meetings and get the experience first hand.  For those who think that would be too time consuming, following a dozen or so AA recovery blogs or forums for a month would give a more complete picture.  Still, for those with more money than time, this book would be a worthwhile read.  I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

    1. I read this book early in recovery and found it more entertaining than informative. It was nonetheless a positive glimpse into the 12-step world, so its heart seemed in the right place. You offer some excellent practical suggestions for those curious about AA.

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    2. I appreciate your review, I am just about to release my book, 30 Days of Recovery, which I am probably keeping the name only because that’s what everyone knows it as, I would change it if possible. There’s actually quite a bit I would like to change but I have been advised to keep it as is because it was written in early recovery and therefore should reflect early recovery. My sixth draft is about to go out to three author friends who are going to give me notes. I will consider their notes, make my final changes and release the book as an E-book first. It caught my eye about citing work on AA history. I have referenced things in my book about AA and NA but I am not sure if just giving credit in the passage is good enough.

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    3. Really appreciate this information. Found your blog through Google. Specifically I appreciate such data as ” … those with more money than time …” Wow. Definitely people who have plenty of money to spend on books; and then people like me who DON’T. And, very little time to do worthwhile research. I look forward to following your blog. T

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    4. Thanks for the candid review. I appreciate the honest opinions and I hate when someone feels obligated to give a positive review. I won’t be scrambling to the bookstore for this one, but if it crosses my path I’ll give it a try.

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