“Littlejohn, through The Power of Vow, has made at least two major contributions for which all addicts and non-addicts should be thankful. For adherents to the 12-Step model, Littlejohn’s work is another contribution to the growing number of alternative perspectives on a successful, although arguably dated system of recovery. For Buddhist addicts, Littlejohn has kindly –
the book is true genius–it manages to maintain a reverence and respect for the twelve steps, while allowing for an “atheistic” interpretation of the process.
Daren Littlejohn combines autobiography and reference guide in this enlightened introduction to both Buddhism and the 12 steps. I like the way that he personalizes concepts and offers suggestions throughout the book. I also like the way that he simplifies Buddhist beliefs for an audience (addicts) who tend to complicate things
The how to section argues for simple breathing practices, gives a helpful meditation checklist and moves on to more awareness oriented practices before going deeper with more advanced breathings, body and walking meditation instructions. Thankfully the author does some explanation of visualizations, in and out of the context of religious imagery and goes a step further than some other books by introducing the ideas of analytical meditation.
Darren Littlejohn, standing on the shoulders of many giants both in the field of Buddhism and addiction recovery, has offered us The 12 Step Buddhist, a raw and visceral account of his attempts to integrate Buddhism into his own recovery. The 12 Step Buddhist stands as a street level, no-nonsense guide to bringing the wisdom of Buddhism into the everyday life of the recovering addict. Littlejohn eschews intellectualization and abstraction in favor of practicality, grit, and hard-won realization about what works and what doesn’t work in attempting to find real relief from what ails us. His excitement about the ways that Buddhism can turbo charge one’s recovery program is palpable.