Substance abuse and addiction are two of the most common worldwide problems in youth and adult populations. The good thing is that there are different types of therapies and treatments made specifically to help with these issues, including Buddhist lifestyle practices. Practiced in Asia for a long time, it’s becoming a popular option in Western countries.
Buddhism and Addiction Recovery
Buddhism is considered a religion and a philosophy, focusing on spirituality rather than God, and most of their practices focus on improving mental and physical health. Since addiction and substance abuse focus on “obsession” or “craving” of something, which oppose one of Buddhism’s focuses: urge control. The Buddhism way of recovery centers on helping the person achieve self-love and re-connection to fill a particular hole in one’s soul.
Buddhist Approaches to Addiction Recovery
When trying to recover from porn, alcohol, drug, tobacco, and other forms of addiction using practices related to or similar to Buddhism, you really don’t have to be a Buddhist or believe in all their ways. The most popular one is mindfulness meditation, which will help establish a mind and body connection.
Buddha introduced this practice about 2,500 years ago to gently open a person’s mind to greater awareness or a deeper understanding of one’s true self and the world. Mindful exercises also help in emotional coping, developing self-control, and achieving happiness. Thus, it not only assists in recovery but also relapse prevention.
● Common Rehab Programs
The mindfulness treatment methods many facilities and therapists commonly utilize are MBCT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy), MBSR (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy), and DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy).
● At-Home Practices
You can also meditate at home, and most practitioners will teach you how to do so, although there are available videos that can guide you throughout the process. Some of the most common ones that even beginners can do include breathing, water, and moving meditation practices.
Why It Works
Being the most famous and highly acceptable Buddhist practices to deal with addictions, achieving mindfulness through meditation works because it:
- Encourages Acceptance
With this practice, you would learn to accept your negative experiences instead of escaping from them. You investigate and deeply understand the experience and then commit to finding a way to recover from it. Through acceptance and commitment, you can easily live your life even with unpleasant experiences because you already know that they’re tolerable and temporary.
- Keeps You Relaxed
Chronic stress is among the most challenging struggles people face that often make one abuse or get addicted to particular substances and practices. Mindful therapy helps you take a break and stay quiet and relaxed, giving you better mind and body awareness.
Eventually, you can quickly recognize and feel if tension starts to creep in, so you become more responsible for dealing with it, one of the 12 Laws of Karma Buddhism. You would start relaxing instead of craving for and using substances and succumbing to addictive practices.
- Teaches You to Respond Instead of React
People with addictive and abusive behaviors usually react to situations instead of respond to them because the reasoning part of their brains gets cut out. Buddhism-influenced mindful practices help improve this part of the brain, so you easily identify good from bad and vice versa. It will help you find ways to respond to these thoughts appropriately.
- Helps You Become More Compassionate
Some treatment plans and therapy sessions for abuse and dependency involve a support system, such as other individuals with the same issues. Mindful practices teach compassion that will help you connect with people recovering from addictive behaviors. Not only will you have a supportive circle, but you’ll also extend such compassion to others.
Refuge Recovery and Buddhism
The Refuge Recovery is one of the organizations established that use the Buddhism way, specifically mindfulness meditation. They help individuals free themselves from their dependencies and compulsions, as well as their causes and effects.
How It Works
The Refuge Recovery utilizes the Buddhist’s Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path to help individuals with their addictive behaviors.
The Four Noble Truths
The four noble truths of Buddhism are as follows:
- First Noble Truth: Life comes with suffering
- Second Noble Truth: Cravings for and attachments to temporary things cause suffering. Also, the existence of these sufferings aren’t the way that you think they are.
- Third Noble Truth: You can overcome attachments and cravings.
- Fourth Noble Truth: The path to overcoming cravings and attachments has eight parts, specifically, the Noble Eightfold Path.
The Noble Eightfold Path
The eight steps to this path include achieving:
- Right understanding
- Right thought
- Proper speech
- Correct action
- Right livelihood
- Right effort
- Right mindfulness
- Right concentration
Refuge Recovery has guided meditation books that can help you learn the practice if you’re a beginner or improve it if you’ve already been practicing for a while. They also have podcasts focusing on speaker recordings and guided meditations that you can listen to during your free time.
If you want assistance, they also have in-person and online meetings available. All you have to do is search via the internet using the phrase “Refuge Recovery meetings near me”. On the other hand, if you’re interested in establishing your RR meeting and group, their pamphlets, book, and website can help.
Buddhist Lifestyle Practices for Addiction Recovery: The Conclusion
One of the best ways to help someone free themselves from their long yet temporary cravings and compulsions is through the mind, which has the main control over one’s behaviors and actions. Focusing on spirituality rather than religious practices, the relation between Buddhism and alcohol recovery or freedom from any addictions has long been established.
That is particularly through meditation to help achieve positive mindfulness for oneself and assist and support others with the same issue. You can choose to practice meditation by learning it on your own or with professional guidance.
There are also organizations, such as Refuge Recovery, and associations that can help you out. You can also seek help from rehab facilities that offer mindfulness programs that will work for your specific needs.