Sober living

How to Reduce Anxiety Through Meditation and Buddhism

buddhist alcoholics anonymous

It precedes those times and serves as the cognitive basis for why we used in the first place, and continued long after its limitations became apparent. And while no one ever died from participation in the fellowship, without the deeper inward effort recovery requires, the allure of resuming active addiction frequently becomes overwhelming. These perceptual truths don’t just disappear when we swear off our substances of choice; indeed they intensify after sobriety. People who are new to all this sometimes experience a bit of a honeymoon during which they find satisfaction in being sober, attending more fully to the details of their lives, making amends, and participating in the fellowship of recovery. In its place comes increasing sensitivity and emotional pain, a myriad of discouraging thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions, and a sense of meaninglessness and lack of purpose that easily becomes overpowering. In the United States prior to the 1940s, efforts to help addicts and alcoholics relied primarily on prison, hospitals, sanatoriums, and evangelical religion.

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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.

buddhist alcoholics anonymous

Korean Seon Teacher and American Buddhism Pioneer Ven. Samu Sunim Dies, Aged 81

buddhist alcoholics anonymous

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.

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Without this larger effort, simply going to meetings and not drinking usually ultimately fails. So does memorizing the Big Book, performing service work, talking to our sponsors every day, talking to sponsees every day, and trying to discern what our ego’s notion of God would have us do in perplexing situations. So the difficulty the program struggles with isn’t in its basic prescription.

buddhist alcoholics anonymous

How to Enjoy Life Twice as Much, Part 2: Michel de Montaigne and Rick Hanson on Life’s Natural Pleasures

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 adderall and cardiovascular risk 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.

  1. And while no one ever died from participation in the fellowship, without the deeper inward effort recovery requires, the allure of resuming active addiction frequently becomes overwhelming.
  2. 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.
  3. I’m sure it’spossible – people who are not fortunate enough to live in New YorkCity do it every day.
  4. For people who want to curb their addiction for good, you’re not required to be a Buddhist to practice and benefit from its teachings.
  5. Seen through this prism, addiction became primarily a spiritual sickness whose symptoms involved character defects, moral insufficiency, and lack of faith.
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And the substances or behaviors that were once a refuge inevitably became a dark and lonely repetitive cycle of searching for comfort as we wandered through an empty life. We need to take a lesson from Shitou and Ma and realize that we practice in drug addiction and the disability benefits you can get different recovery programs but we aren’t in competition with each other. We may have different techniques, but we have a common goal. My first teacher, John Tarrant Roshi, would often say that Zen does not require one to believe in anything.

Bill W. and Buddha: Connections Between Meditation and the Twelve Steps of AA

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.

Theravada, Zen, Tibetan, and Nichiren, my friends have all found ways to mutually practice their particular Buddhist traditions and the Twelve Steps. The Buddhist Recovery Network promotes the use of Buddhist teachings and practices to help people recover from the suffering caused by addictive behaviors and is open to people of how long does weed stay in your system all backgrounds, and respectful of all recovery paths. Refuge is a safe place, a place of protection—a place that we go to in times of need, a shelter. Drugs, alcohol, food, sex, money, or relationships with people have been a refuge for many of us. Before addiction, such refuges provide temporary feelings of comfort and safety.

Likewise, the program’s middle steps, having to do with fearless and loving introspection, end up being the ongoing primary requirement of continued success in long-term recovery. This is so if for no other reason than because AA members understand first hand the real work of recovery doesn’t involve getting sober, it involves staying sober. For most of us, the effort to sustain recovery quickly assumes an order of magnitude that dwarfs any life endeavor previously or subsequently undertaken. Indeed, quality sobriety entails a kind of commitment that is simply incomprehensible to anyone who hasn’t actually done it. And with the success of AA’s recovering community, there finally appeared an ongoing community whose singular commitment and capability was and is to support, educate, and enable addicts to get and remain sober through life’s ups and downs. And so, ultimately, the work of sobriety is the task of finding meaning, purpose, joy, and satisfaction in life without the searing anesthesia of active addiction.

buddhist alcoholics anonymous

We were to sit silently in our plastic chairs, close our eyes, and focus on our breath. I had never meditated, but I’d gone to church, so I instinctively bowed my head. Then I realized, given that this would last for 15 minutes, I should probably find a more comfortable neck position. According to Buddhist lore, the Buddha often emphasized that the end of suffering begins when one admits his imperfections and takes the necessary steps to rectify them.

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.

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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.

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 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.

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.

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.

It embraces the scope of ongoing change people in recovery must undertake. It provides an easy functioning and accessible kinship system. Its program is comprehensible and accessible to nearly anyone.

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.

A close friend of hers was diagnosed with cancer three years ago, and Saad was impressed by how calm she remained throughout her diagnosis and treatment. “We’ve talked a lot about her outlook, and she always goes back to her Buddhism,” she says. Now, when Saad is stressed about something, the concept of impermanence helps her to imagine that she’s already survived the event she’s dreading. Hugh Byrne, the director of the Center for Mindful Living in Washington, D.C., says the local meditation community has “blossomed in the past few years.” As I stress-Ubered from meeting to meeting in D.C.