A 12 step alcohol program usually refers to AA or Alcoholics Anonymous, although there are many inpatient and outpatient treatment programs which have a 12 step focus.
The 11th step is about daily prayer and meditation, seeking knowledge of the higher powers will for today.
The following information is from a Wall Street Journal article by Sharon Begley which speaks to what neuroscientist are discovering about the impact of meditation on the human brain.
..."Except for one thing. In between meditations, the gamma signal in the monks never died down. Even when they were not meditating, their brains were different from the novices' brains, marked by waves associated with perception, problem solving and consciousness. Moreover, the more hours of meditation training a monk had had, the stronger and more enduring the gamma signal.
It was something Prof. Davidson had been seeking since he trekked into the hills above Dharamsala to study lamas and monks: evidence that mental training can create an enduring brain trait.
Prof. Davidson then used fMRI imaging to detect which regions of the monks' and novices' brains became active during compassion meditation. The brains of all the subjects showed activity in regions that monitor one's emotions, plan movements, and generate positive feelings such as happiness. Regions that keep track of what is self and what is other became quieter, as if during compassion meditation the subjects opened their minds and hearts to others.
More interesting were the differences between the monks and the novices. The monks had much greater activation in brain regions called the right insula and caudate, a network that underlies empathy and maternal love. They also had stronger connections from the frontal regions to the emotion regions, which is the pathway by which higher thought can control emotions.
In each case, monks with the most hours of meditation showed the most dramatic brain changes. That was a strong hint that mental training makes it easier for the brain to turn on circuits that underlie compassion and empathy.
"This positive state is a skill that can be trained," Prof. Davidson says. "Our findings clearly indicate that meditation can change the function of the brain in an enduring way."
So there you have it folks, the connection between meditation and positive changes in the brain using modern technology.
I consider that evidence that the 12 step alcohol program is a great way to open your life to compassion.
Unfortunately, it can be a slow process, the development of compassion.
However, there are computer based programs that enhance neuroplasticity and neurogenesis, and they are available for your use now, to enhance your experience of the steps.
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