A Fresh Step promotes mindfulness in all aspects of personal and community life through practices that include meditation, honest sharing and constructive social engagement.

A Fresh Step introduces a toolbox of mindfulness practices for persons in recovery from alcoholism and  addiction and for individuals and families dealing with other harmful compulsions.

A Fresh Step provides:

  • Weekly meditation classes at the Northern Oregon Regional Correctional facility (NORCOR) especially for participants in drug and alcohol recovery programs and inmates facing mental health challenges.

  • Administrative support for the Columbia Gorge Mindfulness Meetup (more than 335 members with many mindfulness and meditation activities each week)

  • Activities and programs to introduce businesses and organizations to meditation and mindfulness practice in the workplace and in the wider community

  • Organizing, facilitating and encouraging programs and activities to support spiritual growth and healing for peer-lead recovery programs including 12-Step groups, Recovery Dharma and other recovery support groups.

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A Fresh Step supports peer-led recovery activities including 12-Step meetings and programs such as Recovery Dharma by promoting and leading mindfulness and meditation practice as one important dimension of healing and spiritual growth.

Past programs include weekly 11th Step Meetings in White Salmon, WA and Hood River, OR. The 11th Step in a 12 Step program is: 'We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand God....' At each meeting, following periods of silent, seated meditation, the members read and discussed chapters of the book Mindfulness and the 12 Steps by Thérèse Jacobs Stewart, M.A., L.P.

A Fresh Step supports the new Recovery Dharma meetings begun this summer in Hood River at St. Mark's on Wednesdays (7:45 to 9:00 pm) and Sundays (6:15 to 7:30).

A Fresh Step also administers and supports the Columbia Gorge Mindfulness Meetup site with 340 members. This site provides information about meditation and mindfulness opportunities in the Gorge ranging from single free events to full courses with professional counselors and teachers. Fourteen event organizers are currently creating and scheduling events on the site. The Meetup announces dozens of opportunities to gather and join with others each month.

...a significant - and perhaps essential - element of my own recovery has been sharing meditation practice with others; meditation is the ‘secret sauce’ of spiritual growth, and mindfulness allows us to cultivate compassion first within ourselves and then for others.
— Richard "Dick" Withers
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Program Leadership

Richard "Dick" Withers

Richard "Dick" Withers is the founder of A Fresh Step. Dick has been teaching and facilitating weekly meditation programs at the Northern Oregon Correctional facility (NORCOR) since the spring of 2018.  He has organized and facilitated peer-led meditation and mindfulness programs for persons in recovery from alcoholism and other addictions in the mid-Columbia Gorge beginning in 2016 shortly after retiring from Wisconsin and moving to Hood River, OR with his wife, Bonnie.

Dick practiced law in West Virginia and Wisconsin and serving in government and private practice with a focus on public health issues.  He led and participated in research programs at the Medical College of Wisconsin investigating violent injuries, particularly firearm injuries and deaths. His post-graduate studies have included both bioethics and conflict resolution.

Dick was introduced to meditation and mindfulness practice in 2010 when he began treatment for alcoholism. Following training to teach meditation in correctional settings, he began regular meditation programs in Wisconsin correctional facilities in 2015.