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Center for Action and Contemplation

Course Description

Mystical Sobriety is a 12-week Christian contemplative online course that helps us work through attachments, trauma, and past hurts. When we become stuck in cycles of trauma, it can feel difficult to find a way forward. Integrate the spiritual and psychological to learn how God’s healing grace sustains us even in times of hurt, grief, and suffering.

The suffering associated with any attachment is real. Mystical Sobriety invites us to deepen our sense of oneness and develop the strength to face our hurts with Love. As our inner witness comes to recognize our attachments, we learn that vulnerability is the path to freedom and transformation. Students will learn tools to habituate this way of being through teachings, contemplative rhythm, practice, and reflection.  

Drawing from his years as a spiritual teacher and therapist, James Finley brings new insight to our unhealthy habitual patterns and their impact on our well-being, guiding students into a sense of wholeness that transcends and permeates our feelings of brokenness. 

Students will be asked to do some deep reflective work and processing on past trauma. As with any deep, interior work, this may challenge you or cause discomfort. We strongly encourage students to enlist the support of a companion on this journey, such as a spiritual director, therapist, sponsor, pastor, or trusted friend. 

Mystical Sobriety includes four LIVE virtual calls with James Finley guiding students through the tender seriousness of this material and answering questions. Learn more about this opportunity below in the Course Details section. 

Learning Objectives

  • Foster a greater awareness in your life to the habits of the mind and heart that pull you away from accepting your inherent belovedness. 
  • Expand your understanding of the Divine’s interplay in practice, reflection, and daily life, to help you stay present to what is arising in you daily. 
  • Cultivate a contemplative practice to anchor the spiritual work of embodying these teachings in your daily life. 
  • Connect and learn with James Finley and other students in four live virtual calls, journeying toward living in a more present, compassionate, and non-reactive way. 

“I have so much gratitude for Jim’s teaching, and for the support of my spiritual director and my therapist. Mystical Sobriety laid the foundation for my biggest inner breakthroughs.”

– Jon H.

Course Impact

Participants enroll in Mystical Sobriety for many reasons. Some find processing trauma, with the guidance of James Finley, helped heal deeply rooted feelings of brokenness and unworthiness. Others felt that this Christian contemplative online course helped reconnect them to a lost sense of self and offered them a clearer understanding of their life purpose.

Participants who engaged fully with the course shared that they:

  • Felt less upset by past hurts and trauma like abuse, loss of a child, or being shunned. 
  • Grew more confident when dealing with major life changes, like feeling unhappy at work, dealing with empty nest syndrome, or going through a divorce. 
  • Came away with healthier coping strategies for that help when stuck in cycles of trauma. 
  • Discovered a more loving relationship with scripture by using Christian mysticism to work through trauma from spiritual abuse, like Christian racism, sexism in the Bible, or discrimination against homosexuality. 

Course Schedule

Below you will find the course schedule for all upcoming offerings. You can register or sign up to be notified of an upcoming course by clicking the buttons below.

July 24, 2024 – September 3, 2024
Start Date
September 11, 2024
12 weeks
$249 – 497
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Course Details

Mystical Sobriety is a 12-week online course. Students should expect to invest 2–4 hours per week in the teaching, practices, and personal reflections. There is an additional “Next 90 Days,” during which students process what they have learned by engaging in exercised designed by James Finley.  

The rhythm for this course is modeled after the four movements of Lectio Divina. Students are encouraged to prepare themselves for this structure by listening to Jim teach on them in an episode of his podcast

  • This course is taught in English. 
  • Learn more about the technical requirements for taking this course. 

Live Virtual Calls

This course will also include four LIVE virtual calls with James Finley, introducing students to the tender seriousness of this material and answering questions (with replays available). Attendance at these calls is encouraged, but not required. Recordings will be available within a few days of the call.

Content Advisory

In this course, students will be asked to do some deep reflective work and processing on past trauma. As with any deep, interior work, this may challenge you or cause discomfort. Revisiting past traumas can awaken hidden or dormant hurts and vulnerabilities. 

We encourage students to thoughtfully consider to what degree they can safely engage in this vulnerable work. Having the support of a trusted friend, therapist, or spiritual director may be necessary for a student. 

We strongly encourage students to enlist the support of a companion on this journey, such as a spiritual director, therapist, sponsor, pastor, or trusted friend.  

There will be no interaction with teaching assistants or students in this course. Students are instead encouraged to process and dialog with the companion they have chosen to join them on their journey.  

We recommend students have some familiarity with 12 Step philosophies, Breathing Under Water (online course or book) or have participated in professional trauma work. 


The cost for this course is $497. While this price accurately reflects production costs (including the live virtual calls), we believe that finances should not be a barrier to participation. That is why we have made two additional price levels available at $374 and $249. 

These additional levels have been subsidized with scholarship money donated by generous members of our community who believe in making the transformative wisdom of the Christian contemplative tradition available to more people. We encourage you to select the price you are most able to afford.

Financial Assistance

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.

This is the Mystical Sobriety course trailer.

Course Overview

Because this course asks us to revisit our traumatic personal histories, which can be a long and daunting journey, Mystical Sobriety is divided into two parts: 

  • Course Instruction (12 weeks) — In the first part of this course, students will explore contemplative practices and reflective exercises intended to help us heal from addictive patterns that hold us back from accepting God’s loving grace in our lives. 
  • Personal Deep Work (Optional) — At the end of the course, students will receive several exercises intended to help them integrate the tools and practices from the course material into their daily lives. Students will receive extended access to all course material for 90 days after the course ends to support this work. This is also the purpose of the fourth and final Optional Course Wrap-up live call.


  • Welcome and Introduction to Mystical Sobriety Introduction to the contemplative rhythm and teachings of mystical sobriety. This material will be available any time after you register for the course. 
  • Session 1 — The Grace & Work of Mystical Sobriety with Live Zoom Call 1 On the first day, James Finley will welcome you to the course in a Live Zoom Call. You will then proceed to the course materials to explore the connection of the 12 Steps and Christian Mysticism through prayer, stories, examples, meditations, and foundations for the unfolding journey. 
  • Session 2 — The Groundless Jump: Seeing What Is Too Beautiful to Die 
    Unpack Steps 1 – 3 as James Finley builds on the momentum of radical honesty, unknowing of faith, and life as a groundless jump. 
  • Session 3 — Dawning of a New Way to See 
    Discover the direct implications of Steps 4 – 7 on spiritual worldviews, as well as character defects as survival strategies and as a deep walk of experiential self-knowledge. 
  • Session 4 — Live Zoom Call 2 
    Build your foundations for mystical sobriety with an introduction to the Healing of Inventory exercises. 
  • Session 5 — Illuminating Our Story 
    Learn more about the Healing of Inventory exercise as James Finley leads us through Steps 8 – 10. Touch on the oneness that human nature feels exiled from, the entanglements of trauma, and abandonments that open doors to addictive patterns.  
  • Session 6 — Our Messy Lives as Pathway to the Divine 
    Reflect on your journey and prepare the way for Steps 11 & 12. Continue to knit together the inter- and intra-connectedness of this work through Lectio Divina. 
  • Session 7 — Mystical Becoming 
    Discover a path to connect with the love that evokes deepening transformations. Reflect and honor our shared road of mystical sobriety. 
  • Session 8 — Live Zoom Call 3 
    Prepare to take the Healing of Personal Inventory and Interconnected Family Inventory further with meditation and embodiment practices. 
  • Next 90 Days — Engaging in the Deep Work
    Engage in self-paced conscious work to further explore, unpack, and heal past traumas by applying the tools, teachings, and practices from the course. 
  • Session 9 — Live Zoom Call 4
    Join us for an optional opportunity to interact with James Finley, asking questions and reflecting on the experience and steps forward. 
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