The Twelve Steps as a Path to Enlightenment
Dorena Rode (Upasika Mahakhema) joined her first Twelve Step fellowship in 1989 and is currently an active member of multiple programs. She has started groups, led meetings and served at the group level and above. Although not a member of Alcoholics Anonymous she can quote the Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book” with the best of them and is familiar with the literature of the major Twelve Step programs. Because of her unique background she uses the Twelve Step program as an effective way to improve life, not just combat addictions.

After close to twenty years in Twelve Step programs, Dorena began studying with the Asian Classics Institute. The teacher training program she completed was developed by Geshe Michael Roach, the first westerner to earn a Geshe degree (twenty-five years training) at a Tibetan Monastery. He is also the author of the international bestseller, The Diamond Cutter. Devoting herself full-time to the training, Dorena completed the eighteen course teacher training program and earned the degree of Maroke (Guide) in 2010. She began teaching Buddhism in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2011 and is currently teaching Asian Classics Institute classes online.

In addition to her study of the classical Tibetan Buddhist texts under Geshe Michael Roach, Dorena subsequently has studied with Master Culadasa, the leader of the Dharma Treasure Sangha whose teachings emphasize nonsectarian Buddhism. She maintains an active internal arts practice. Starting in 1995, Dorena studied Chi Gung and Tai Chi with Richard Upton and more recently Ba Gua and Hsing Yi with Tom Morrissey (student of late Master Kenny Gong).

Dorena’s academic and career paths have predominantly been in the field of alternative medicine. It was curiosity about the mysteries of life that led her to study chemistry and receive an undergraduate degree in that field with highest honors in 1988 (UC Santa Cruz). This was accomplished despite having dropped out of high school and running away from home at fifteen years of age. Still searching for answers to how things work (specifically how herbs affect the body) Dorena returned to school (UC Davis) and earned a doctorate in physiology in 2004. Her doctoral research was funded by a personal predoctoral grant from the National Institute of Health – National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Dorena is the mother of one grown daughter and currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona where she is active in the Twelve Step community and dedicated to practicing the Steps on the Path to Enlightenment.

Author Contact: dorenarode at              Order The Twelve Steps as a Path to Enlightenment now.