Author: John Carter

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

buddhist alcoholics anonymous

He could, however, write about both in a magazine. Recovery Dharma Global is a nonprofit organization that maintains a list of Recovery Dharma meetings, shares materials, and organizes events to explore and strengthen the Recovery Dharma program. The readings below highlight the practices of our program. Each concept provides an opportunity to deepen understanding, explore personal inquiry, and connect with others. Recovery is a process of healing the underlying conditions that lead to addiction.

  1. The Buddhist Recovery Network is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is volunteer-run and relies solely on your donations.
  2. Sober for 32 years now, this has not been my experience.
  3. From what my friends tell me, Refuge Recovery is a sincere and dedicated program.
  4. The world of addiction recovery and AA are also interested.
  5. But at some point we crossed the line into addiction.

And I’m aware of quite a few other Buddhists with similar experiences at the Twelve Step meetings I attend. Theravada, Zen, Tibetan, and Nichiren, my friends have all found ways to mutually practice their particular Buddhist traditions and the Twelve Steps. We need to take a lesson from Shitou and Ma and realize that we practice in different recovery programs but we aren’t in competition with each other. We may have different techniques, but we have a common goal. Recovery Dharma Sangha Groups are local members who join together to support each other on this path of recovery. Members form wise friendships, and organize gatherings such as weekly meetings, workshops and other events.

Shambhala Meditation Center of Portland

I yearn to learn more about practicing the Buddhist Way and the Twelve-Step Way together. The founders were involved in the Oxford Group, before they created AA. The Oxford Group practiced first century Christianity. This is probably why the word God is used so much in AA.

If you have a negative experience at a meeting, which was related to the way the meeting was conducted, please contact us. This website is using a security service to protect itself from online attacks. The action you just performed triggered the security solution.

Nowadays, there is a lot of interest in mindfulness and meditation. The world of addiction recovery and AA are also interested. I remember my sponsor wanted to check out our Shambhala center.

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It is establishing and maintaining the practice of abstaining from satisfying the cravings for the substances and behaviors that we have become addicted to. Recovery is also the ability to inhabit the conditions of the present reality, whether pleasant or unpleasant. There’s a phrase in the Big Book that says something to the effect that God is either everything or nothing. Simply put, my higher power is everything (form), so I try to pay attention to everything that comes my way. On other days and moments my higher power is nothing (emptiness). Ah yes, the Heart Sutra, “form is exactly emptiness, emptiness exactly form .

buddhist alcoholics anonymous

We welcome all those who wish to pursue recovery as part of our community. My Zen practice, a koan tradition in the Pacific Zen School, began 10 years later. There was a time when I would say I had two practices, but today my practice is Twelve & Zen, a blend of the two; a symbiotic relationship in which I practice the Twelve Steps and Zen Buddhism fully, without obstacles. Zen and the Twelve Steps have given me a whole new reality, filled with purpose, joy, and gratitude.

Also, there probably weren’t very many Buddhists in the United States back in 1935. Meditation is the cornerstone of our path. Below you will find a number of audio and downloadable pdf guided meditations. Join founder Noah Levine for the ‘First Thursday of the Month Refuge Recovery Talks’ ⁠ LIVE talk, guided meditation and Q&A. Let me tell you about one of my AA heroes, Indian Frank.

He died a number of years back with 25 years of sobriety.

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It is like being a hungry ghost, wandering through life in constant craving and suffering. Is 32 years sober and the author of the book Three Buddhists Walked Into an AA Meeting…and got sober (CreateSpace 2016), and the blog The 12 Steps and Zen Koans. In 2017, the Buddhist Recovery Summit was held in Washington State. It was apparent that many people attending had been AA members for years and credited AA with their own recovery; the point being, we do not have to choose between Buddhist groups and AA. I’m disappointed, however, to see few magazine articles and opinion pieces by Buddhists who have found long-term recovery in AA. It’s in forums such as magazines where one can carry on (anonymously of course) meaningful dialogues about Buddhism and AA.

To have your meeting listed

Step 11 is Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. The part that is in italics is very important. This is where AA says I can have my own conception of a higher power.

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. In fact, one of my AA sponsees attends both AA and Refuge Recovery meetings. Because of AA’s Tradition 10 (AA has no opinion on outside issues), he doesn’t talk about Refuge Recovery in AA meetings.

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. But at some point we crossed the line into addiction. 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.

In an email from New York, the facilitator of their HoR wrote, “12 steps are supported and the readings are generally focused around one of the 12 steps. This meeting is not an attempt to avoid the 12 steps, but generally more about differing ways of working with the 12 steps, recovery and meditation.” I’m hoping to use New York’s model for our HoR program here in Portland. Recovery Dharma offers a trauma-informed, empowered approach to recovery based on Buddhist principles.