Would do you find HOPE? At an AA, NA or group recovery meeting?  Really…

Would do you find HOPE? At an AA, NA or group recovery meeting? Really…


Richard Rohr believes so.

Today we introduce a new set of blogs. As you’d probably know by this time, we at Largest Heart are particularly interested in all things that would really help those that have a mental illness, suicidal thoughts, and or an addiction.

It is part of our mission to raise awareness and spread knowledge about the flood of despair and its resulting consequences on the people of America.

Covid-19 is a genuine problem, but it will go away.  Suicide and overdosing won’t. In fact, alarming statistics show us that rates have been increasing yearly.  We have to speak up!

The Franciscan priest, Father Richard Rohr, wrote an excellent book that inspired us lately. In the first two blogs of our current series, we would like to tell you about it.


'Breathing Under Water'

The 12 Steps and Christianity

Father Rohr has helped countless people who struggle with addiction and the issues of despair.   

In this book, ‘Breathing Under Water:  Spirituality and the Twelve Steps,’ Rohr takes us through the AA’s 12-step program and reminds us that it has solid roots in the Christian faith. He even reminds us what Christian faith is and dives into it and share the power of gratitude. Friedrich Nietzche, the German philosopher perceived Christians with an underlying resentment towards a God that demanded sacrifice and a resentment towards others for not recognizing our sacrifices or sacrificing as much we us, or even worse not sacrificing anything at all!  

Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935. At its core lies the Twelve Steps that has freed millions from their dependence on alcohol and other addictive substances.

The founders of the AA, William Wilson, and Dr. Robert Smith stated that healing is impossible if you don't surrender to God first.

Richard Rohr concurs and says that the 12 steps, in essence, says the same things that Jesus said and was written about in the New Testament of the Bible.  In this book, he explores each of the 12 steps and shows us again how each of them interrelates to the Gospel. The Holy Spirit inspired both teachings (that of the AA and Jesus).    


The paradoxes in the center of everything

The title

The title of this book is a paradox in itself. Rohr borrowed it from a poem by Carol Bieleck and said that 'breathing under water' is to learn how to trust God in strange circumstances. Christians should throw themselves into God's compassion and love without necessarily understanding absolutely everything. It is possible to do the 'impossible,' (breathing under water).  

More paradoxes

When you go to an AA meeting, you go because you want to take the first step to become better, to improve yourself. However, at the same time, you must realize that it is impossible to improve yourself.   

Recovery is an ongoing process, and the first steps a preparation for the Holy Spirit to do His work in you. Change might not happen immediately, or it can happen when you least expect it to. All you can do is to be open to change, to look for the opportunities to start ‘breathing under water.’

Richard Rohr says we are all addicts in a sense. The Bible calls it ‘sin.’ He states it beautifully in saying that:

  • We must all suffer so that we can get well.
  • We must know we must surrender so that we can win.
  • We must die (to ourselves) so that we can gloriously live.
  • We must give away to be able to keep what we have.

Do you recognize the Christian principles? The AA states the same in its Twelve Steps.

Rohr writes that sin is a disease, just like addiction. It is our ‘disease’ that  makes God unhappy, and He wants to heal us. Healing was at the center of Jesus's ministry also, Rohr reminds us.

Richard Rohr says that the 12-step program of the AA makes Jesus's message practical. The message is not pushed into a 'metaphysical world,' but healing can occur in the 'here and now.'

It starts with admitting that you are powerless. Jesus begins here too. How many wonderful stories are there where people reached their absolute rock bottom, only to find Him there?



In our next blog, we will delve a bit deeper into this book.   We want to get to the point where we can assimilate the message of Richard Rohr into something practical for you to use against addiction, suicidal thoughts, and despair. We found the information so inspiring – it is our wish that you would, too!

The answer to our question in the title of this blog is yes. Yes, you will find Jesus at an AA meeting.



‘Breathing Under Water:  Spirituality and the Twelve Steps’ – by Richard Rohr

Find the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Breathing-Under-Water-Spirituality Twelve/dp/1616361573

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