12 Dynamic Practices That Work
“To us, the Realm of Spirit is broad, roomy, all-inclusive; never exclusive or forbidding to those who earnestly seek. It is open, we believe, to all…” Alcoholics Anonymous page 46
Dr. Jane S. Galloway
As a person in long time recovery, Dr. JANE GALLOWAY has developed a real appreciation for the spiritual depth of the 12-Steps as the spine for a lifelong path for psycho-spiritual growth.
But Dr. Jane makes a real distinction between the recovery and spiritual paths of the 12-Step path, and culture of AA. “Too many people get stuck on the bridge back to recovery and use AA as a crutch or substitute for real life. It’s a recovery program! So the goal is to recover and then learn tools for living that translate into a full life.”
Building upon the expansive spirituality of the AA founders, “The Gateways-The Wisdom of 12-Step Spirituality” incorporates psycho-spiritual teachings from depth psychology, world religious traditions, body-mind healing modalities and indigenous wisdom- along with concrete practices and humor- to support a full life.
DR. JANE is a visionary leader, professional artist and recovery educator. From California to the urban center of NYC, Jane is a leader re-defining spiritual community. She has led communities in NYC and Los Angeles, CA, and is the founder of T.R.I.B.E: Transformation/ Realization/ Inspiration/ Belonging/ Expression.
THE GATEWAYS: THE WISDOM OF 12-STEP SPIRITUALITY
This book is a gift to anyone on the spiritual path toward wholeness.
The Rev. Dr. Jane Galloway’s The Gateways: The Wisdom of 12-Step Spirituality combines the tried-and-true methods of the 12-Steps with dynamic spiritual practices that allow people to more deeply integrate the Steps into their own personal spirituality. Among longtime members of recovery groups like Alcoholics Anonymous (such as the author), newcomers to the 12 Steps, and even among the throngs of curious onlookers wanting to know just exactly how this method miraculously transforms broken lives into productive, joyous, deeply spiritual lives, The Gateways is creating a different kind of buzz.
Rev. Galloway sets the stage by telling the story of the 12 Steps with all of the drama and detail of her significant acting career. Whether you know the adventures of Bill and Lois by heart or you’ve never heard of the founders of AA and Al-Anon, the first part of The Gateways reflects some of the best recovery writing I’ve seen. Galloway remains true to the letter of AA’s founding tenets as well as its original literature—much of which reads like a 1950s newsreel and is at risk of becoming outdated—in this timely, revolutionary book. But Jane Galloway’s The Gateways is much more than an update.
It presents the 12 Steps squarely in the context of 21st-century spirituality with skill and sensitivity that will carry the message into the next millennium. The Gateways invites devotees of every faith, as well people who identify as agnostic, atheist, and spiritual but not religious (SBNR), to share this journey into wholeness. And, somehow, Jane Galloway manages to map this vast topography with equal breadth and depth in a concise, direct narrative.
With honesty, candor, and a touch of wry humor, Jane Galloway begins the conversation on 12-Step spirituality by telling us her own story. She has nothing to hide—which I find one of the most refreshing characteristics of 12-Step philosophy. One of my favorite parts of the book is where the author transitions from her personal background to the bigger historical picture in a chapter entitled “A Country Spirals into Addiction.” The 20th century was indeed a breeding ground for widespread addiction, but it was also a time of great breakthrough in preparation for the spiritual and religious awakening that is upon us in the 21st century.
Dr. Galloway devotes three especially salient chapters to the ways 12-Step spirituality dovetails with New Thought spirituality, eastern Wisdom teachings, and the Christian movement known as the Jesus Path. Here’s where Galloway’s Doctor of Ministry from Claremont School of Theology sheds light on the full spiritual spectrum without becoming bogged down in any of the doctrinal dogma associated with religion. She’s well equipped with the necessary knowledge and wisdom—distinctly crucial attributes—to guide us on the inter-spiritual path of which the 12-Steps are a valuable part.
All of this builds up to the truly groundbreaking second part of the book, where the author introduces twelve “Gateway Essences”—a veritable smorgasbord of spiritual practices including a Chakra, a Chinese Meridian, color, sound, gemstone, and musical note that reflects the deeper essence of each of the 12 Steps. Galloway cleverly provides a metaphorical container for these practices, modeled on the Japanese bento box, whereby people can pick and choose which practices they’d like to incorporate, just as a typical bento box may hold rice, fish or meat, vegetables, etc. In today’s global spiritual marketplace with its overwhelming selection of spiritual teachings, it’s nice to visualize this tidy little personalized “to go” box of spiritual practices. Finding the spiritual practices that feed your soul can make the difference between lifelong sobriety and serenity, and the repeated relapse scenarios we see and experience all too often. The tangible rituals and practices of The Gateways unlock the power of each of the 12 Steps to make recovery a truly sacred experience.
But perhaps the greatest contribution of “The Gateways” is its emphasis on strength-based recovery. Too many recovery programs fixate on the sickness of addiction and, as a result, trap people in a pathology-centered mindset. Jane Galloway suggests “Rather than obsessing about what is ‘wrong’ with a person, learning what is ‘right’ with them may hold the key to understanding.” Recognizing the importance of addressing the root causes of addiction, she posits that “Drawing forth the inherent strengths in a person opens a world of self-realization.”
Herein lies the genius of The Gateways: Jane Galloway’s multivalent spiritual approach empowers people to not only live soberly but to live spiritually. The Gateways doesn’t replace basic Step work, but takes each of the 12 Steps to the next level and, in so doing, helps us live in greater alignment with our Higher Power, our life’s purpose, and the joy of living. Jane Galloway’s The Gateways is a priceless gift not only to the recovery community but to every spiritual pilgrim on the path toward wholeness.
Kate Sheehan Roach
Managing Editor, Patheos Spirituality