Dear Belleruth or HealthJourneys staff:

I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who has been using your Meditation to Support Recovery from Alcohol & Other Drugs for 7 years now in the day treatment program of Kaiser Permanente's Addiction Medicine Department in Los Angeles. (Actually, I "inherited" the cassette - subsequently upgraded to CD - from my predecessor, who had used it for several years.) For most day treatment patients, it is their first introduction to meditation of any kind, and the vast majority love it.

I will soon be starting a series of classes in the clinic that I am calling Mind-Body Recovery Techniques. It will incorporate Tai Chi, Qigong, and Mindfulness (and other forms of meditation).  Participants will include members of the clinic's Chemical Dependency Recovery Program and Codependency Program. I am writing to ask which CD you might recommend and to get a few more details about the numbers and timings of tracks than the website descriptions provide.

I am considering, for example, General Wellness. The description indicates its length as 42 minutes. But the description for Alcohol & Other Drugs is 61 minute, and I am already aware that the latter CD has 2 tracks (the guided imagery, then affirmations), each lasting about 30 minutes. Is the General Wellness meditation a full 42 minutes or are there 2 or more tracks of shorter duration?

The description of the 2-CD set Inner Peace, Outward Power ("to supplement and enhance any 12-step program") sounds as though it might really be ideal, but I have similar questions: Is each segment evenly divided into being about 12 minutes long? To what extent is each track a discrete unit? Alternatively, how easily might several be used in a row? Does the music fade in/fade out in between tracks?

Thank you for providing these products. I look forward to more information, so that I might make an informed purchasing decision.

L. C., LMFT at KP

Dear Lee,

What a great idea for a program!  I’’ll bet it’s a huge hit and extremely helpful to your attendees.  Our General Wellness is one idea, and yes, that 42 minutes is total playing time, divided between the introduction (just a few minutes), the guided imagery track (about 20 minutes) and the affirmations track (about the same).  An alternative might be our new Guided Imagery Mix, which has even shorter segments to experiment with.  All you really need for a good “dose” is 10-15 minutes, although most people prefer over 20, once they get into it.

Another great starter meditation would be Andy Weil’s Breathwork segments from Breathing: The Master Key to Self-Healing, especially good for beginners, skeptical men and folks who have initial trouble with imaginal work – guided imagery isn’t for everyone. 

I agree with you that Inner Peace/Outward Power by Chuck Levitan is an ideal choice for people in recovery, and yes, those are discrete meditations, based on the 12 steps, with times ranging from 9-14 minutes and averaging about 10 minutes.  These are really targeted to your population, so I’d definitely look into using those – maybe one or two of them at each session.

If you don’t have a live instructor to borrow, you might also want to check out Shiva Rea’s Radiant Heart Yoga for some simple, powerful yoga for this population, as well as Tiffany Chen’s Step by Step Tai Chi.
Good luck with this!  We’d love to hear how it goes and what people seemed to enjoy and benefit from most.
All best,