The Essence of Twelve Step Recovery: Take It to Heart, was written in gratitude to the Jellinek patients at Hazelden, whose lives, struggles and pain are witness to what spirituality is all about. Dedicated to Sandy McElrath, Damian's wife of 26 years, the book defines spirituality and the essence of Twelve Step living - and the essence of Hazelden. McElrath begins his Hazelden-published book with a quote from the Big Book: 'The spiritual life is not a theory. We have to live it'. (""Alcoholics Anonymous"", page 83). He goes on to eloquently provide his view of spiritual fitness. 'The person seeking recovery must reconnect with his true self, with others, and with his Higher Power - the God of his understanding', he writes. He addresses 'the spiritual protocols of recovery' in separate self-contained chapters: The Community, The Spirituality of Addiction, The Twelve Steps - Relational Spirituality, Benchmarks for Spiritual Growth, and The Cultivation of the Interior Life. Gail Gleason Milgram, EdD, director of the Center for Alcohol Studies at Rutgers University, endorses the book: 'Damian is a born teacher. He presents complicated and difficult content in a clear and concise fashion. He helps the reader understand that 'the heart of what makes us human/spiritual beings is our search for integrity, purpose and meaning.' This book is a gift to all who are in search of the meaning of life'. Says Craig Nakken, author of ""The Addictive Personality"": 'Damian has written a simple but profound guide for addicts that goes to the very heart of what is needed for recovery. The book has purpose and meaning beyond its pages. It's a must read for those looking to embrace or deepen their recovery. Follow the spiritual protocol!'