Breathing Under Water: A Spiritual Study of the Twelve Steps — Center for Action and Contemplation

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Breathing Under Water: A Spiritual Study of the Twelve Steps

Course Description

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. The invitation is to let go of egoic attachments and step into freedom and wholeness. 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 rich online course is based on Richard Rohr’s book, Breathing Under Water and includes reflections, expanded commentary, additional articles, videos, and audio clips, plus exclusive teachings from Father Richard. New themes each week facilitate engagement, personally and collaboratively, with the Twelve Steps. 

Please note: Father Richard’s book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps is required reading for this course and is not included in the course registration.

Whether you are new to the Twelve Steps or have been doing this work for years, we hope Breathing Under Water moves 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


In this 15-week online course, you will have opportunities 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
  • Invest 4-6 hours per week in the course teaching, reading, online discussion, and personal reflections
  • Review supplemental material (audio, video, articles, books, etc.) to deepen your spiritual journey
  • Explore new material every week
  • Note: Richard Rohr’s book, Breathing Under Water, is required reading for this course and is not included in the course registration.

Course content will be available one week after the course end date, or until Midnight, U.S. MT on the Tuesday following the course end date.

Registration closes one week before the course opens or as soon as the course fills, whichever comes first.

Cost: $120 per person. To apply for financial assistance, please complete the online Financial Assistance Form at least 1 week before registration is scheduled to close. Please do not register for the online course until your request for financial assistance has been processed.

Course Dates

Start Date End Date Registration Opens Registration Status
March 24, 2021 July 6, 2021 January 11, 2021 Registration is closed.

Please review the technical and language requirements prior to registering.

What Others Are Saying About Breathing Under Water:

“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.”

Registration is closed.

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