zen of recovery by mel ash

Zen of Recovery

Watch for regular articles on the Zen of Recovery!

The Zen of Recovery was the first book to offer a viable Eastern wisdom based recovery alternative to the patriarchal and God-based methods of many 12-step programs. Many thousands have found its methods and message to be successful in their own steps to recovery. The Zen of Recovery is used by many 12-step study groups as a weekly guide and manual and has become a classic in its field. The Zen of Recovery recently entered the digital age with its release as a Kindle electronic book and an Audible audiobook.

Watch for regular articles on the Zen of Recovery!


Here it is at last: the sequel/companion to my first book, The Zen of Recovery!

I've selected some useful passages from the completed manuscript to post here at the website in hopes of meeting the requests of many readers who have asked for more material. Zen Mind, Recovery Heart contains essays, artwork and thoughts much like the first book, but focuses a lot on actual instructions and examinations of a life lived according to these principles.

Much of the material is derived from the many workshops and classes I've led through the years all over the country with people just like you. The Zen of Recovery was published nearly twenty years ago and I'm happy to report that it is still in print, still used by thousands of recovering people and has now been formatted as a Kindle electronic book and will soon be available as an audio book.

The philosophy and healing techniques of The Zen of Recovery have proven their worth in the lives of actual people and I am humbled by my role in all of this. Zen Mind, Recovery Heart will also feature writings from ďfansĒ of the first book and I invite you to send me your experiences, thoughts, teachings and personal awakenings to be included in a chapter dedicated specifically to you, the reader. Anything from a simple poem or drawing to a couple of pages would be great. Personal anonymity is up to you. All types of 12 step recovery are welcome. If published, you will receive a signed copy of the book with your published contribution as a token of my gratitude. Otherwise, all contributions are pro bono.

In this way, the new tradition of Zen Recovery becomes our common experience, updated and made richer with the addition of your own words and life experiences. Recovery and awakening are not just for me, not just for you. They are for all of us and only together can we get better and save this suffering world.

Please enjoy the following excerpts from Zen Mind, Recovery Heart. Look for more chapters and artwork from the book to be posted regularly. I also invite publishers interested in this worthy project to get in touch.

May all beings recover!
Mel Ash/Jeong Mu

Tales of Mr. Fix-It, Zen Master

Before birth
After being born
That's exactly where you are right now
-Zen master Ikkyu

1. How I Got Fixed

Here's how I met the real Mr. Fix-It, when I was thirty years old and newly sober in a 12 step program. All my life I'd felt broken and had looked for fixes in alcohol, drugs, relationships, geographical cures...you know the list, I'm sure. Mr. Fix-It was an older Korean Zen Master who I'd recently come to study with at his Zen center in Rhode Island. I'd considered myself a Buddhist since discovering Buddhism as a child in comic books and had come to the center soon after my first A.A. meeting. It is suggested in the programs that you return to earlier spiritual traditions as part of a full recovery. So here I was. Fix me! I demanded. Read more . . .

Zen of Recovery Meditation Tips

Don't wait: make love. That's wisdom!
Meditating, chanting and praying: complete idiocy!
-Zen master Ikkyu

The essential practice of Zen and a technique alluded to in the 11th step ("sought through prayer and meditation...") is what I call "sitting around, doing nothing, looking at the floor." Meditation is common to most world traditions and is a lot easier than you've been led to believe. It is as natural to us humans as a nap is to cat. Mediation is an important 11th step skill for recovering people and I can't emphasize its importance enough to a good program of abstinence from addictive behavior and spiritual and emotional growth. Meditation also has many physical benefits, as well, healing the body as it heals the soul. Read more . . .

Zen Recovery Koans

Only one koan matters:
-Zen master Ikkyu

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Youíve heard this one before, I'm sure. Itís a classic and stereotypical Zen koan. What you might not have heard is that there are literally hundreds of these koans, these seemingly unanswerable, nonsensical and paradoxical riddles. Read more . . .

Steps, Prayers, Precepts, Vows, Truths & Paths

The Recovery of Recovery Language

If you donít break rules
Youíre not human:
Youíre a jackass.
-Zen master Ikkyu

It's time to get rid of "God", or at least remove "him" from the steps. Itís time to get rid of the sexist, patriarchal "he" and "him" and render the language human-friendly. Read more . . .

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