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19 Temmuz 2024
Sober living

Addiction and Recovery: Buddhists on the Path to Sobriety in AA

buddhist alcoholics anonymous

Buddhist meditation centers have recently popped up in places such as Knoxville, Tennessee, and Lakewood, Ohio. There are now dozens of Buddhist podcasts, among many more apps and playlists geared specifically toward personal, non-Buddhist meditation. Four in 10 American adults now say they meditate at least weekly.

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The trouble instead resides in the way that message is often presented. AA’s founders inherited a primitive religious view of addiction they accepted as basic reality. Seen through this prism, addiction became primarily a spiritual sickness whose symptoms involved character defects, moral insufficiency, and lack of faith. They thought the path to a recovered life flows from cognitive and behavioral change in favor of new, more honest, and wholesome ideas.

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I’m sure it’spossible – people who are not fortunate enough to live in New YorkCity do it every day. But we are encouraged by both gentlemen to takerefuge in the communities of those like us – because that’s wherehope comes from. When I look around my zendo, I see people who havebeen able to transform their suffering – and that makes it easierfor me to sit for another 25 minutes. When I look around my home Twelve-Stepgroup, I see people who have come a million miles from their historiesof hardship and trauma – and that makes it easier for me to show upat the next meeting.

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buddhist alcoholics anonymous

Around that same time, some 91 per cent of Americans considered themselves Christian. Of course the Big Book would come off with a Christian tone. From what my friends tell me, Refuge Recovery is a sincere and dedicated program. If you found and maintained your recovery there, or in any other Buddhist-based program, I’m happy for your success.

  1. Perhaps the comfort comes simply from knowing that the problems that bedevil humans have been around since long before Gmail.
  2. But we are encouraged by both gentlemen to takerefuge in the communities of those like us – because that’s wherehope comes from.
  3. The sutras are quite a departure from the normal content of psychotherapy, in which one might ponder what truly makes one happy.
  4. The idea is to see your emotions and experiences—including anxiety or pain—as constantly changing, “like a weather system coming through,” he says.

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The ancient Eastern religion is helping Westerners with very modern mental-health problems. With sharing that reflects the boundless range of belief (and non-belief) among A.A. Members — including Buddhism, Islam, Native American faith traditions, and atheism and agnosticism — this pamphlet shows how Alcoholics Anonymous is a spiritual organization, rather than a religious one. Through Steps 6, 7, and 8, person is able to know the dangers of relapsing and conscientiously chooses not to stray from the right path anymore.

P-84 Many Paths to Spirituality

Recovery is a broad avenue of increasing choices, opportunities, and solutions. And no single member, group, or larger recovering community has the capability or authority to define what anyone’s continued sobriety requires. Finally, we’re urged to internalize and continue this reflective process on a routine ongoing basis, and to turn our attention to helping others with the same problem come into and remain in recovery. He objected, citing the religious aspects of AA’s 12-step program, which has its origins in a Christian group, per the group’s FAQ page. United rejected his suggestion of using the Buddhism-based peer-support group Refuge Recovery as an alternative, the commission said. Cecilia Saad found this to be an especially attractive element of Buddhism.

buddhist alcoholics anonymous

Again, you are not required to be a Buddhist to apply the Eightfold Path to your treatment. So long as it (and the other teachings of Buddhism) can help you, then how to stop binge drinking by all means practice them constantly. Through Steps 1 and 2, the person can begin to fully understand the cause of his addiction and commit to healing himself.

I remember when we were talking about what may be the most important statement in the Big Book, that one can have a Higher Power of one’s very personal understanding, and he said, “Good Zen book! ” His statement surprised me, but over the years I have found it to be true. AA is at a disadvantage here—because of its Twelve Traditions, it can’t take out advertising. Anonymity is another tradition and the reason I don’t use my last name. Why not just getthe home versions of the Twelve Steps and of the dharma?

There’s something about hungry ghosts that makes life loud and unhappy with or without the substance, so much so that drinking and using past the point of addiction and well on towards death itself seems at times like a very very good idea. Buddhist recovery manuals, a genre that has emerged in the last 30 years, aim to use Buddhist ideas and practices to address the challenges of addiction. These books draw on classical Buddhist thought and Twelve-Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous.

Put together, these steps help create a mentally strong, upright, and disciplined individual. However, once that person reaches enlightenment – that is, he truly knows the cause of his suffering and sweeps away all material attachments – he ends his cycle and attains nirvana, which is the state of enlightenment and true happiness. Addiction is the repetitive process of habitually satisfying cravings to avoid, change, or control the seemingly unbearable conditions of the present moment. This process of craving and indulgence provides short-term relief but causes long-term harm. It is almost always a source of suffering for both the addict and those who care about the addict.

Time and work usually leads to the second truth, that the genesis of pain lies within us and in our responses to experience. And, although AA teaches that it’s God who lifts our delusions, the texts also provide a conceptually concise method of manifesting that change which is God-neutral and completely consistent with what the Buddha taught. There are however, certain principles in recovery that carry a tremendous amount of force for nearly everyone. The sense of doom, hope, and commitment outlined previously are centerpieces to most people’s ongoing efforts.

buddhist alcoholics anonymous

The difficulty the program struggles with isn’t in its basic prescription. “Employers have the affirmative obligation to modify their policies to accommodate employees’ religious beliefs,” Jeffrey Burstein, the EEOC New York regional attorney, said. “If they require their employees to attend AA as part of a rehabilitation program, they must make magic mushroom side effects sure that they allow for alternatives for their employees who have religious objections to AA.” United Airlines will pay $305,000 to a Buddhist pilot who refused to attend meetings organised by the Christian-focused Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, program. Dressed in flowing gold robes, the bald female meditation teacher told us to do nothing.

Recently, I noticed a few “meditation spaces” where far more consumerist establishments used to be. Academic research on mindfulness meditation has also exploded, making what in the West was once an esoteric practice for hippies more akin how long does acid last to a life hack for all. Though precise numbers on its popularity are hard to come by, Buddhism does seem to be emerging in the Western, type-A universe. The journalist Robert Wright’s Why Buddhism Is True became a best seller in 2017.

I wantto be sure of the results before I take a step or make a commitment.My default is to wait for my fear to go away before doing the thingsI’m afraid of. I’d learn to swim when I’m not afraid of thewater any more, I thought. I’d apply for that job, I’d signup for a new class in a new place, I’d go on a retreat with peopleI don’t know, I’d ride my bike down that unfamiliar street – whenI’m “comfortable”, when it “feels safe”. Within a few short decades, AA and its progeny (Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, and so on) grew to be the hallmark and solution of choice for anyone struggling with addiction. Since then, AA has continued to serve as the primary avenue for recovery in America. It exists in most communities, its literature is published in all major and many minor languages world wide, and the fellowship has helped literally millions of addicts and alcoholics return to sober productive lives.

Sharing his secret to enlightenment with his followers, the Buddha emphasized eight steps a person should follow and practice if he wishes to attain nirvana. Known as the Noble Eightfold Path, this collective set of teachings can help those who want to free themselves from the endless cycle of suffering, death, and rebirth. In the case of substance abuse, the focal point of a person’s addiction is usually drugs, alcohol, and the like.

I was having trouble focusing on resentment, and my eyes flickered open involuntarily. It was 30 degrees outside, yet most of the seats were taken. Still, it was remarkable that so many of us were willing to stumble through the freezing dark just to take in some basic wisdom about how to be less sad. In addition to meditating every morning and night, Sanchez reads the Diamond Sutra and Heart Sutra, texts from the early Middle Ages, and listens to zen talks. The sutras are quite a departure from the normal content of psychotherapy, in which one might ponder what truly makes one happy. Buddhist thought suggests that one should not compulsively crave comfort and avoid discomfort, which some see as permission to hop off the hedonic treadmill.

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