Taoism in Recovery

Taoism in Recovery

Taoism and recovery from addiction are like peas in a pod. When I began doing the 12 steps with my sponsor, I became fixated on the idea that I needed to define my higher power in order to believe in it. The closest thing that I have found to a higher power that I can really get behind is the Tao. 

Many years ago in college, I read some books on Taoism, but it didn’t really sync in until I began the process of recovery. My work on the 12 steps led me to exploring the web. The Wikipedia article for the Tao provided me with a fairly significant “light bulb moment”. It might be defined as a nameless essence present in our universe. In many ways, I think of it as a flow and a pattern, albeit chaotic, that all things are connected to. 

If you are interested in the Tao, I would recommend the book Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff:


As I was thinking about my second and third steps, this book really helped me. It continues to impress me as someone in recovery, although it was not written specifically for people in recovery. There is a sort of selflessness and serenity that I have found in Taoism.

This website specifically offers Taoist verse and a perspective on the 12 steps:


There are many books and websites about Taosim, but here a few that I have found:




As you read about Taoism, and if you are active in the 12 steps or another path to recovery, I am confident many things will sound familiar to you. You will likely read about acceptance, compassion, humility, moderation, and other concepts that we aspire towards in recovery.


There is a great podcast, called “What’s This Tao All About?” with which you can learn more about Taoism. Here is their website:


6 thoughts on “Taoism in Recovery

  1. I have studied ,researched and practiced taoist internal martial arts, along with wellness practices for 15 years. I however have struggled with substance use for 30 years. I am on a path of recovery now. I am trying to integrate Taoism into my recovery more and more. I am working with a local non-profit to create a weekly recovery taiji class. Also seeking their certification as a peer recovery coach. I am considering also a degree in integrative health. I believe the 2 would fit well. After years of working as a professional tattoo artist and a telecommunications foreman that fed my addiction. Time spent in and out of 12 step programs. I always felt a connection between recovery and the Tao. Very happy to find this sight. The Tao According to Pooh is great, the Te of Piglet is an incredible follow up. Good suggested reading.

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