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Buddhism and Addiction Recovery

Many people in recovery believe that addiction stems from a spiritual sickness. In attempt to overcome the spiritual aspect of the disease, many men and women turn to Buddhism. In fact, several recovery programs, such as Refuge Recovery, have begun using Buddhism and Buddhist principles as a means of achieving and maintaining sobriety.

The principles of Buddhism align with those of recovery and promote spiritual and personal development through meditation and other Buddhist practices. Refuge Recovery describes itself as “ a Buddhist-oriented path to freedom from addiction. This is an approach to recovery that understands: “All individuals have the power and potential to free themselves from the suffering that is caused by addiction.” We feel confident in the power of the Dharma, if applied, to relieve suffering of all kinds, including the suffering of addiction. This is a process that cultivates a path of awakening, the path of recovering from the addictions and delusions that have created so much suffering in our lives and in this world.”  

Refuge Recovery explains that they draw their inspiration from Siddhartha Gautama: “He referred to the root cause of suffering as ‘uncontrollable thirst or repetitive craving.’ This ‘thirst’ tends to arise in relation to pleasure, but it may also arise as a craving for unpleasant experiences to go away, or as an addiction to people, places, things, or experiences. This is the same thirst of the alcoholic, the same craving as the addict, and the same attachment as the codependent.”

The Buddhist approach to recovery may view addiction as a form of unhealthy attachment. Michael J. Formica, in a 2008 Psychology Today article entitled Addiction: A Zen Perspective, explains, “From a Buddhist perspective, addiction might be considered the archetype of attachment. Addiction is, in fact, a collection of attachments. It is attachment to fear, attachment to loss, and attachment to longing, emptiness, and a lack of a sense of purpose. Whether we choose alcohol, drugs, sex, food, pornography, exercise or even shopping, we are simply employing the means serving the compulsion to fill a space and dampen our pain. The means does not matter; that is simply a gesture. The compulsion is the crux of it, and that compulsion is not so much to drink, or do drugs, or to spend; that compulsion, ultimately, is to fill that space.” Through utilizing Buddhist philosophy and practices, it is possible to let go of these unhealthy attachments and desires as a way of overcoming addiction.

Your life can become one of peace and serenity in sobriety. You can embark upon the rewarding journey of recovery by making the decision to seek help now. Resilient House, located in beautiful Shreveport, Louisiana, offers a hybrid approach to treatment that utilizes the highest quality behavioral health and addiction specialists, spiritual guides, and holistic experts to help you develop all the tools necessary to live a fulfilling life in sobriety. For information about treatment options, please call today: (833) 242-6431