Soul Silence: A Unique Approach to Mastering the 11th Step
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Soul Silence: A Unique Approach to Mastering the 11th Step

by Peter Amato
     
 

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For many people in recovery—whether newcomers or veterans with years in the program—the 11th Step (seeking through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God . . .) can prove confusing and elusive. What
exactly does it mean to pray and meditate? How does one go about making conscious contact with a Power greater than oneself?

…  See more details below

Overview

For many people in recovery—whether newcomers or veterans with years in the program—the 11th Step (seeking through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God . . .) can prove confusing and elusive. What
exactly does it mean to pray and meditate? How does one go about making conscious contact with a Power greater than oneself? What does one do if he or she is not religious? Soul Silence: A Unique Approach to Mastering the 11th Step
outlines a comprehensive program that answers these questions and offers clear definitions and instructions for prayer and meditation, teaching you how to listen within for spiritual insights that are key to ongoing sobriety and abstinence. Part guidebook, part memoir, Soul Silence is written by Peter Amato, M.A., a meditation master and psychotherapist with sixteen years of sobriety. His tried-and-true approach to prayer and meditation is the cornerstone of his Inner Harmony Workshops, which have helped thousands of men and women develop a new understanding of the 11th Step, recommit to their recovery, and enjoy lives filled with peace, passion, and purpose.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780757315305
Publisher:
Health Communications, Incorporated
Publication date:
11/01/2010
Pages:
268
Sales rank:
400,800
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction:

Addiction and the Eleventh Step
All man's miseries derive from not being
able to sit quietly in a room alone.
—Blaise Pascal

Prayer and meditation are as old as the earth's ancient religions, but the idea of using them as part of a systematic program of recovery from addiction is relatively new. In 1935, when alcoholics were routinely locked up in sanitariums and asylums, two physically, emotionally, and spiritually bankrupt alcoholics figured out that admitting complete defeat and asking a higher power of their understanding for help was the only way to overcome their addiction.

These pioneers—a businessman named Bill Wilson and a physician named Robert Smith—also understood that the only way they would stay sober was to continually share their message with other alcoholics, ensuring they themselves never forgot to seek a connection to their higher power.

Bill W. and Dr. Bob's small meetings of ragtag alcoholics steadily grew into a fellowship called Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which, according to the group's World Service Office, now serves about 2 million members at 113,168 meetings in more than 180 countries. AA, a nonprofit, member-run organization, also reports that today scores of offshoots use AA's Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions as a foundation for helping people recover from addictions of all kinds.

In addition to alcoholism, Twelve Step meetings serve people seeking relief from drug abuse, overeating, anorexia, gambling, codependence, sex addiction, Internet addiction, workaholism, compulsive debting, and chronic hoarding to name a few issues. Even people who are perpetually late and suffer from severe artistic blocks have turned to the Twelve Steps for help.

Making Conscious Contact with a Higher Power

Most mental health and addiction professionals acknowledge the unparalleled effectiveness of Twelve Step programs, referring clients to 'the rooms' for their combination of ongoing peer support, structure, and nondenominational spirituality. It turns out that spirituality—the quest for a connection with something greater than oneself—is a powerful tool that helps free addicts from the grips of addiction.

Why? No one is entirely sure. Some theologians and religious believers say it is the work of God. Some scientists, atheists, and agnostics suggest the Twelve Steps introduce recovering addicts to new ways of thinking—create new mental pathways—that override brain chemistry that has evolved over millennia. And, of course, there are plenty of people whose opinion falls somewhere in the middle.

While it is helpful to explore the reasons why the spiritual aspects of the program work, it is more important to understand the fact that they do work. Recovery professionals and recovering addicts acknowledge that addicts who connect—that is, make conscious contact—with a higher power, however they define it, are more likely to stay sober, abstinent, and serene for longer periods. They move forward in their recovery, not backward. The quality of their lives improves.

Conversely, addicts who struggle to find a meaningful understanding of, and connection with, a higher power are likely to falter in their quest to stay sober or abstinent.

Looking for Clues

I have been blessed to be able to dedicate the past two decades of my life to spiritual inquiry. I have studied with some of the world's greatest spiritual masters, who have imparted powerful and effective tools and techniques for making conscious contact with a higher power of my understanding. I even went so far as to 'check out' for seven years so I could meditate and pray with little interruption—that is, until some wise friends convinced me it was time to return to society to give back what I had learned.

So, I made a commitment to service. Since then, scores of men and women in recovery have approached me in my role as a meditation master, yoga teacher, and psychotherapist—some ashamed

—saying they haven't a clue how to practice the Eleventh Step. Some can't identify a higher power and others don't know how to connect with the one in which they already believe. Some people have an aversion to any kind of spirituality because they associate it with a particular religious tradition. Others are atheists or agnostics who, without tangible proof, cannot abide the idea of a God or even something as noncommittal as a higher power.

There are those in recovery who have studied meditation, but the techniques they learned didn't resonate with them, or they just can't sit still long enough to experience the miraculous healing these practices can bring. As one AA member put it: 'When you walk into a meeting, no one hands you a manual explaining how to do this stuff.'

Of course, that is not entirely true. Bill Wilson includes material on prayer and meditation in Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as AA's 'Big Book.' He also wrote an inspired chapter on the subject in the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (often called the Twelve and Twelve). I strongly encourage you to read both books in their entirety. Furthermore, some Twelve Step programs and publishers specializing in recovery books offer pamphlets about Step Eleven. But there is scant material that explores—in depth—nonreligious, nondenominational ways a person working to overcome addiction can find a higher power and learn to pray and meditate.

Wilson himself acknowledged that when it comes to prayer and meditation, AA itself has its limitations, advising in the Twelve and Twelve that AA members seek outside guidance on the matter. 'Aided by such instruction and example as we can find, [prayer and meditation are] essentially an individual adventure, something which each one of us works out in his own way.'

What People are saying about this

"What truly amazes me about Peter Amato is not the extreme metamorphosis he has undergone as a human being, but rather the fact that he can remember all of the insanity leading up to the cocoon stage of his transformation. I have trouble remembering the 90's, let alone what I was or wasn't doing. Peter's Soul Silence is an absolute must for anyone who wishes to experience the 12-step model and not just read about it. His brand of teaching will benefit all those in recovery and the people who care about them."
—Darren Kavinoky TV Legal Analyst, Founding Attorney of The Kavinoky Law Firm

Deepak Chopra

"Peter Amato's book, Soul Silence, is a guide for the countless individuals struggling to navigate through recovery."

—Deepak Chopra

Joan Borysenko
"For those individuals in a 12-step program of recovery, it is paramount to maintain a spiritual connection with some form of higher power. While this is a daunting task for many, Peter Amato's Soul Silence is a beautifully written guide for anyone to follow when searching for a deeper connection to the 12 steps and beyond. Through Peter's own down to earth experience, strength and hope, he demystifies the process of connecting to a power greater than yourself."

—Joan Borysenko, Ph.D.

Joan Borysenko, Ph.D.

Dr. Reef Karim
"Fostering strong spiritual health is paramount to recovery. In my experience with recovering addicts, individuals who establish and maintain a strong spiritual connection have a much better chance of staying sober. Peter Amato's Soul Silence is one of the few books I've had the pleasure of reading that not only explains the importance of spiritual healing but also teaches the reader how to develop a deeper connection."

—Dr. Reef Karim, Director: The Control Center UCLA Assistant Clinical Professor

Sophie Chiche
"Peter Amato's Soul Silence is an enlightened guide to self-discovery for the individual in recovery or anyone searching for a deeper connection with themselves. His journey is compelling, and his ability to extract the teachable moments along the way is truly profound."

—Sophie Chiche Founder and President of lifebyme.com

Gary Seidler

"Peter has selflessly devoted many years to study with many masters. The result is a valuable gift for the recovery community."

—Gary Seidler, Founding Co-Publisher Health Communications, Inc.

Marianne Williamson

"Peter Amato gives a helpful guide to doing the 11th step, providing light on the path to spiritual surrender. He goes deep and he takes the reader with him."
—Marianne Williamson
#1 New York Times best-selling author

Tian Dayton

"Peter Amato's Soul Silence offers an intimate and beautiful journey of surrender and self awareness, a guide to living with higher purpose and promise a day at a time. Peter has created a wonderful written companion for the twelve step person looking to incorporate meditation and yoga into their wholesome design for living."

—Tian Dayton, Ph.D., TEP Author of Emotional Sobriety: From Relationship Trauma to Resilience and Balance
and creator of RTR: Relationship Trauma Repair Model: Healing PTSD

Tian Dayton, Ph.D., TEP

Yogi Amrit Desai
"All of us struggle with life's challenges and develop addictions to some degree. It takes great awareness to truly overcome these pitfalls, which serve as either a path to self-destruction or self-development. Peter Amato has skillfully used his own life experiences, both successes and failures, to illustrate both possibilities. In this insightful self-analysis, he applies the yogic approach to the 12 Steps, creating an even larger opportunity, which is moving from Recovery to Self-Discovery. It is only through contemplative prayer—meditation—that the silent knowledge of the true Self is revealed. Conscious contact brings us to the level of our soul's reality. In that moment, we are not thinking about God, but we are being one with God, directly experiencing the oneness with God. Actualizing Him in each moment of our lives."
—Yogi Amrit Desai
Darren Kavinoky

"What truly amazes me about Peter Amato is not the extreme metamorphosis he has undergone as a human being, but rather the fact that he can remember all of the insanity leading up to the cocoon stage of his transformation. I have trouble remembering the 90's, let alone what I was or wasn't doing. Peter's Soul Silence is an absolute must for anyone who wishes to experience the 12-step model and not just read about it. His brand of teaching will benefit all those in recovery and the people who care about them."

—Darren Kavinoky
TV Legal Analyst
Founding Attorney of The Kavinoky Law Firm

Ken Seeley
"In my experience with recovering addicts, it seems as though the individuals who quickly establish and sustain a strong spiritual connection with a higher power of their choosing have a much better chance of staying on a sober path. Peter Amato's Soul Silence is one of the only books I've read that not only explains the importance of finding that spiritual element but also teaches the reader how to connect to it."
—Ken Seeley, Founder of Intervention 911 and Author of Face It and Fix It (Harper One)
Allen Berger

"We know that recovery is dependent on a spiritual experience that rests upon a pedestal of hopelessness. The question that therefore needs to be answered is, 'What can I do to facilitate that spiritual experience?' There are many roads that lead to this transformation; Peter has illuminated one of them. He not only helps us understand the principles underlying his approach but also gives us practical suggestions along the way. These are the hallmarks of a good healer and guide. I am certain that Soul Silence will help many people in recovery begin and eventually integrate a daily spiritual practice in their program."

—Allen Berger, Ph.D.

Author of the recovery mainstay 12 Stupid Things that Mess Up Recovery (HAZELDEN) and 12 Smart Things to do When the Booze and Drugs are Gone (HAZELDEN)

Allen Berger, Ph.D.

Michael Bernard Beckwith
"Peter adds to the unarguable evidence that discovering, aligning, and communing with our true soul-nature is the most seductive of all allures. His wisdom-guided teachings apply to any form of addiction, but especially to that which is the most pervasive of all others: the ego's addiction to a sense of being separate from our Source."

—Michael Bernard Beckwith

Author of Spiritual Liberation­ ~ Fulfilling Your Soul's Potential

Leonard Buschell
"Peter Amato's story is both a cautionary tale and an evolutionary journey into the heart of recovery's most subtle, intangible Step - The Step that lasts a lifetime. Mr. Amato reveals the beauty and necessity of practicing Step 11. Prayer and meditation's importance to a healthy and successful recovery is explained in an eloquent and down to earth fashion. Soul Silence is not only a guide, but also a book that explains to every reader how they can create an openness, which allows inspiration and transformation to take place."

—Leonard Buschell

Meet the Author

Peter Amato, M.A., is a psychotherapist, meditation master, and yoga instructor who has received certifications from Deepak Chopra, M.D., Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., and Yogi Amrit Desai. A student of world-renowned Buddhist monk, teacher, and Nobel Peace Prize-nominee Thich Nhat Hanh, he has also worked with and received private blessings from the Dalai Lama. Peter Amato is founder and CEO of the Inner Harmony Group, a Pennsylvania-based consortium of companies specializing in holistic health, addiction counseling, educational enrichment, personal growth, leadership development, and business consulting. His enterprises offer cutting-edge programs for individuals, corporations, academic institutions, and corrections facilities.

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