Compassionate Recovery Meeting Format – 001

PDF for this Compassionate Recovery Meeting Format – 001

1) Read all italics aloud:

Welcome to Compassionate Recovery: a universal, inclusive, trauma informed approach to healing attachment and addiction.”

The meeting is open to people with any problematic attachment or addiction.  For the privacy of our members, we announce ourselves by first name only, without disclosing our particular addiction. Please take a flyer, which lists our website,, and many good tools and resources.


My name is _______ (please don’t use an addiction identifier)

I have asked someone to read, “What is Compassionate Recovery?”

(download the separate sheet for, “What is Compassionate Recovery?”)


What is Compassionate Recovery?

Compassionate Recovery is a new paradigm for healing. It’s open to anyone with any degree of attachment and uses solutions from any system, tradition, technique, meditation or treatment. The meetings are dynamic in that they can focus on specific topics, addictions, principles such as life skills, meditation, yoga, non-violent communication as a regular format. Meeting facilitators and members can change topics based on the needs of the community.

Traditional 12-Step programs are normally limited to a specific problem, such as alcohol, and a single solution, such as the 12 Steps. Unlike these limited models, CR is fully inclusive of anyone on a Spectrum of Addiction that ranges from problematic attachments to full blown addictions.

The solutions CR employs are 100% inclusive of any tradition or tool that can be used for healing. CR doesn’t conform to a static, unchanging set of steps that, like AA says, have to be worked in order and can’t be deviated from. The 12 Steps of AA are based on principles which, after a while can be applied out of order of the steps. To simplify and broaden opportunities for healing CR is focused on principles that can be practiced in any order or manner at any time in the course of a person’s recovery. See the book, Compassionate Recovery (Fall 2019) for the complete program.

Attachment is defined as an unhealthy bond, fixation, obsession or preoccupation that causes a life disruption. In CR, addiction is defined more loosely as any attachment to a process, event, substance or person that the individual wants to be free of. 

Addiction is attachment gone wild.

Recovery too is defined as any reduction, elimination or progress on that path. One can opt to claim one or more “clean dates,” for different afflictions, or opt out of the traditional timelines and anniversaries of 12-Step models.

What Compassionate Recovery is Not


Compassionate Recovery is not patriarchal, macho, hierarchical, theological or monotheistic. The program is built on the premise that everyone is included, so there no in-group or out-group. There is only the whole group.

CR is not built on a specific teaching, teacher or platform but is 100% all inclusive to any teaching, any tool that works. 

CR is not a free-for-all. To preserve the quality and experience for members, some structure is necessary. Speakers are limited to the time that they share and can be reminded to bring it back to the topic should they stray.  

CR is not a 12-Step program but is based on universal, secular and spiritual principles for healing.

2) Leader continues:


The format of this meeting is 5 minutes of breathing meditation, followed by a short reading of tonight’s topic. Then we sit silently to contemplate the topic until _:30. I’ll ring the bell at the beginning and end of the meditation periods.  At _:30, I’ll reread the topic without commenting after secretary announcements. I will call on people to share on the topic, as it relates to recovery. The leader shares last.

During the meditation period we ask that everyone be quiet and still out of respect for the practice. If you need to leave, please do so silently. If there are questions, someone will talk with you after the meeting.”

3) Read the instructions aloud, then ring the bell to begin 5 minute breathing meditation.

“Instructions for breathing meditation. Please join me for 5 minutes of breathing meditation to focus the mind. For those who are new to meditation, here are some guidelines: Sit with your back straight, feet on the floor, eyes open but still, at about a 45 degree angle. Breathe naturally. Notice where the air enters your nose. Put your attention there. Count your breaths up to four and backwards down to one. If you lose your place, start back at one.”

Leader rings the bell to begin the 5-minute meditation.

_:05 – Ring the bell to end the 5-minute meditation.

4) Select and read a SHORT topic: one paragraph maximum. Choose from any healing oriented literature, or from the Topic Basket. Please keep the topic short. Do not share until everyone else has shared.

Leader reads the topic, then reads this aloud:

“Now we’ll meditate silently on the topic until _:30. Here are some guidelines. From a place of non-judgmental calmness, reflect on the topic. Be gentle with yourself. If you get lost, practice counting breaths again to become calm and focused.”

Leader rings the bell to begin the 20-minute topic meditation.

5) _:30 – Turn it over to the secretary to pass the basket and make announcements.

6) Read the topic again, without commenting. Then read the following aloud:

“The leader shares last, after reflecting on everyone’s input. We share about our experience with the meditation on this topic, as it pertains to our recovery. You can pass or share for a few minutes. At _:55, we’ll stop to let the leader share.”

Leader chooses how people will be called on, tagged, go around the circle, etc. At _:55, you, the leader get to share.

7) _:00:  Lead the group in the closing dedication.

“We remain seated for the closing dedication, printed on the 3×5 cards. Please join me.

We dedicate the merits of this practice to all suffering addicts.

May everyone be free of suffering, and the causes of suffering.

May everyone practice compassion for self and others.

Keep coming back, it works if you surrender.”