Breathing Under Water

Course Description

For anyone who seeks greater freedom and wholeness, Breathing Under Water: A Spiritual Study of the Twelve Steps offers an opportunity to apply Alcoholics Anonymous’ guiding principles to your own life and addictions. We all have egoic attachments, the most basic being to our very thoughts. Richard Rohr often says, “We do not think ourselves into new ways of being; we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.” Contemplative practice and spiritual wisdom joins with time-tested steps to rewire our habitual patterns of stinking thinking.

This media-rich online course is based on Richard Rohr’s book, Breathing Under Water. The course includes reflections, expanded commentary, additional articles, videos, and audio clips, including exclusive teachings from Father Richard. The study explores new themes each week to facilitate engagement, personally and collaboratively, with the Twelve Steps. Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps is required reading for this course.

Whether you are new to the Twelve Steps or have been doing this work for years, we hope Breathing Under Water draws you to surrender more deeply to your Higher Power and to experience the peace (not of mind, but of being) that comes with such freedom.

Course Objectives

  • Integrate Twelve-Step wisdom into your daily life through reading, reflection, and engagement with Richard Rohr’s book, Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps
  • Deepen your awareness of “stinking thinking” as the universal addiction and explore its implications (codependency and dualistic thinking)
  • Develop your contemplative practice(s) to form the alternative consciousness which provides freedom from the dominant ego self
  • Connect and learn with others on the journey toward unitive consciousness


This self-paced, 8-week online course focuses on Richard Rohr’s book, Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps. Throughout the course, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Discuss course content with fellow learners from around the world
  • Access exclusive audio teachings by Fr. Richard
  • Read course-relevant articles by Fr. Richard
  • Integrate Twelve Step wisdom into daily life
  • Participate in a guided study
  • Engage in personal reflection and contemplative practice
  • Review supplemental material (audio, video, articles, books, etc.) to deepen your spiritual journey
  • Explore new material every week

What Others Are Saying

“The instant transparency from the group was joyous; to be able to open up with people I’ve never met and do so at a deeper level than even what you find in AA, well it was wonderful.”

“This is my first online course experience and it’s been terrific! I like the interviews that you’ve done with Richard…. I’ve also been blown away with the gradual increased depth of sharing in the discussion forum.”

“Thank you so much. I love the class. It affects so many dimensions of my total being. I am grateful.”

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