This book was recommended by a friend. I was unsure what to expect from it, as it deals with a spiritual philosophy called A Course in Miracles (ACIM). I’m not normally one for following set philosophies or doctrines, especially when it comes to the spiritual. I believe in balance, and I believe in the power of the individual. I don’t believe in much else. That said, I have in recent years developed a keen interest in the teachings of Buddhism and other spiritual paths that have a broad sweeping ethos. I was hoping Gabrielle Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie would give me additional fodder for these musings, and I wasn’t disappointed.

There’s a lot in this book. It’s thoughtful, thought-provoking, and poignant. That said, I believe it’s one of those thing that has to come to you at the right time. Had I read this a couple of years ago, or even one year ago, I doubt I would have got much from it – I would have found it academically interesting, but of little personal value. As it is, I came to it at a time when I’m quite open to new ways of thinking.

Gabrielle discusses the core concepts of ACIM, which is more complex than I originally expected. It’s not an overwhelming treatise on a particular way of thinking, however, but more an exploration of ACIM through an explanation of how she, personally, used it to overcome a time of great personal torment and drug addiction, and find a new life of spiritual peace and happiness. I found Gabrielle to be thoroughly genuine in her writing, neither pretentious nor pretending to be anything other than what she is: a thirty-something hip New Yorker you might not expect to demonstrate the level of insight and spiritual clarity present in the book.

It’s aptly titled, as Gabrielle went from being a drug addict to a junkie of a different kind. Spirit Junkie tracks this path, the revelations and understanding that Gabrielle gained during her personal journey, and offers gentle advice to others in similarly dark places. It’s not preachy, which I appreciated, it doesn’t seek to convert you to the ACIM code with a hard sell. It’s simply a philosophy, present in the background, that infuses the author’s words and experiences.

A great book for the spiritually starved modern woman who struggles with anything resembling conventional religion, or who has conventional faith but finds it isn’t quite enough.