Blogs


Notices

Book study - Recovery Dharma

Old 07-05-2021, 07:12 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
Book study - Recovery Dharma

I am not advocating this or any other method of recovery. I have started reading the book and am going to share a bit each day.

From the information pamphlet on their website recoverydharma.org

WHAT IS RECOVERY DHARMA?
Recovery Dharma is a peer-led movement and community that is unified by our trust in the potential of each of us to recover and find freedom from the suffering of addiction. We believe that recovery means empowerment, and we support each other as partners walking the path of recovery together. Our program uses the Buddhist practices and principles of meditation, self inquiry, wisdom, compassion, and community as tools for recovery and healing. Recovery Dharma welcomes anyone who is looking to heal from addiction and addictive behavior, whether it’s caused by substance use or process addictions like codependency, gambling, eating disorders, relationships, technology, or any obsessive or habitual pattern that creates suffering.

The Four Noble Truths
As people who have struggled with addiction, we are already intimately familiar with the truth of suffering. Even if we have never heard of the Buddha, at some level we already know the foundation of his teachings, which we call the Dharma: that in this life, there is suffering. The Buddha also taught the way to free ourselves from this suffering. The heart of these teachings is the Four Noble Truths and the corresponding commitments, which are the foundation of our program.

1. There is suffering. We commit to understanding the truth of suffering.
2. There is a cause of suffering. We commit to understanding that craving leads to suffering.
3. There is an end to suffering. We commit to understanding and experiencing that less craving leads to less suffering.
4. There is a path that leads to the end of suffering. We commit to cultivating the path.

The Eightfold Path
The Buddha taught that by living ethically, practicing meditation, and developing wisdom and compassion, we can end the suffering that is created by resisting, running from, and misunderstanding reality. We have found that these practices and principles can end the suffering of addiction. The Eightfold Path helps us find our way in recovery and consists of the following:

1. Wise Understanding
2. Wise Intention
3. Wise Speech
4. Wise Action
5. Wise Livelihood
6. Wise Effort
7. Wise Mindfulness
8. Wise Concentration

The Practice

Renunciation:
We commit to the intention of abstinence from alcohol and other addictive substances and behaviors.

Meditation:
We commit to the intention of developing a daily meditation practice.

Meetings:
We attend recovery meetings and commit to becoming an active part of the community, offering our own experiences and service wherever possible.

The Path:
We commit to deepening our understanding of the Four Noble Truths and to practicing the Eightfold Path in our daily lives.

Inquiry and Investigation:
We explore the Four Noble Truths as they relate to our addictive behavior through writing and sharing in-depth, detailed Inquiries.

Sangha, Wise Friends, Mentors:
We cultivate relationships within a recovery community, to both support our own recovery and support the recovery of others.

Growth: We continue our study of these Buddhist principles and undertake a lifelong journey of growth and awakening.

Last edited by Dee74; 07-06-2021 at 01:12 AM. Reason: request title change
Patcha is offline  
The Following 6 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Aellyce (07-06-2021), alphaomega (07-06-2021), Boondock (07-06-2021), Dee74 (07-05-2021), dustyfox (07-06-2021), Fusion (07-07-2021)
Old 07-05-2021, 07:35 PM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
I find this so interesting! I didn't know there were Buddhist recovery groups. I am not a Buddhist, I practice secular Buddhist compassion-based mindful meditation, and follow the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh and Gelong Thubten in regard this. I thought it would be interesting to read the book and thought I would share a few paragraphs each day. Feel free to share any thoughts you have along the way.
Patcha is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Boondock (07-06-2021), Dee74 (07-05-2021), Fusion (07-07-2021)
Old 07-06-2021, 12:12 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
The book is free to download and use for group study on their website recoverydharma.org

Recovery Dharma: How to Use Buddhist Practices and Principles to Heal the Suffering of Addiction

version 1.0, August 2019 copyright © 2019 Recovery Dharma

recoverydharma.org

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
You are free to: • Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format • Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially. Under the following terms: • Attribution —You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use. • ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original. • No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.

PREFACE

Once we make a decision to recover from addiction—to substances, habits, people, whatever—it can be scary. The feeling is often one of loss and loneliness, because recovery can shake our sense of identity, our idea of who we are. Who will I be if I let my addiction go? Change can be hard to face, even if we know we’re letting go of something that’s a danger to us. For many of us, the first and most significant challenge was finding a safe and stable place to begin healing.

This is a book about using Buddhist practices and principles to recover from addiction, but you don’t need to become a Buddhist to benefit from this program. One of the most revolutionary things the Buddha taught was that the mind is not only the source of great suffering—due to craving, greed, anger, and confusion—but the cure for that suffering as well. So what we’re doing is using an ancient, proven way to literally change our minds. And we’re choosing to trust in our own potential for wisdom and compassion for others and ourselves.

What you have in your hands is a collaboration from many members of our community. It’s intended to be a friendly guide for those new to this path as well as long-term practitioners. It’s structured around what are sometimes called the “three jewels of Buddhism:” the Buddha (the potential for our own awakening and the goal of the path), the Dharma (how we get there), and the Sangha (who we travel with). We’ll share how we have used this program to recover from addiction and the ways we’ve made it our own: not as a one-size-fits-all approach, but as a dynamic set of tools and techniques that anyone can use to find relief from the suffering of addiction.
Patcha is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Boondock (07-06-2021), Dee74 (07-06-2021), Fusion (07-07-2021)
Old 07-06-2021, 12:14 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
"Who will I be if I let my addiction go?"
This was a big fear when I first came into recovery. I also thought I'd never have fun again. Not that my drinking had was anything approaching fun by this stage. It felt like breaking up with my best friend (who I later came to see as my worst enemy in disguise). I suffer in a lot of different ways, and my suffering causes me to make the people around me suffer. For example, I give people the cold shoulder when I am upset with them and want them to experience the depth of my disdain. I now see when I am doing that and can mindfully change my behaviour and thoughts with loving-kindness to myself and to others. I am committed to doing what I can to suffer less so I contribute less to the suffering of those around me.


The suffering of craving alcohol, then drinking alcohol, then regretting drinking alcohol is a cycle of perpetual despair. I can sit with the craving now. Instead of fearing it, panicking, trying to get away from it as though it were a shark chasing me in the ocean, I can embrace the craving tenderly, breathe mindfully into it; just be with it. I don't need to do anything except practise loving-kindness towards the craving and the me-who-craves. My constant fear of not being able to tolerate cravings and giving in to cravings was deepening both my cravings and suffering. I no longer need to fear cravings. In fact I look forward to it as an opportunity to practice loving-kindness and mindfulness. I welcome the part of me that I used to hate and fear. I don't do this perfectly and sometimes I still fear and flee, but I am getting better each day.
Patcha is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Aellyce (07-06-2021), Boondock (07-06-2021), Dee74 (07-06-2021), Fusion (07-07-2021)
Old 07-06-2021, 07:05 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 10,911
Blog Entries: 69
I quite like Recovery Dharma, also attended meetings in the past, they do book studies in some of them. I think many things in the book can be applied to life and any kind of self-improvement, beyond recovery as well.

I struggle a lot with cravings and any approach to handle them better is helpful for me. Do you meditate? I use an app called Waking Up to guide my practice now, created by an American neuroscientist/philosopher Sam Harris who studied extensively with many great Eastern teachers.

Thanks for this post.
Aellyce is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Aellyce For This Useful Post:
Boondock (07-06-2021), Dee74 (07-07-2021), Fusion (07-07-2021), Patcha (07-06-2021)
Old 07-06-2021, 01:40 PM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
Originally Posted by Aellyce View Post
I quite like Recovery Dharma, also attended meetings in the past, they do book studies in some of them. I think many things in the book can be applied to life and any kind of self-improvement, beyond recovery as well.

I struggle a lot with cravings and any approach to handle them better is helpful for me. Do you meditate? I use an app called Waking Up to guide my practice now, created by an American neuroscientist/philosopher Sam Harris who studied extensively with many great Eastern teachers.

Thanks for this post.
Hi Aellyce

Yes, meditate every day. Usually twice, but at least once. I use the Plum Village app. I will look into the Waking Up app - I haven't heard of it so thanks for mentioning it.

Dealing with cravings has been the hardest part of the sobriety journey. It has taken me years and a lot of trial and error to find something that works for me. Gelong Thubten is a Tibetan Buddhist monk who teaches secular meditation. I came across his talks on Youtube. In one of them, he said that the practice of compassion-based, mindful meditation will transform you. That has absolutely been my experience. I wouldn't have believe it if I hadn't experienced it myself. Combined with the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh about how to deal with difficult emotions, it's been a great help. I was so frightened of cravings before. So frightened I would keep drinking because I didn't think I could tolerate the cravings, even though I knew from the experience of having several years of sobriety that the cravings do pass. I know that even one drop of alcohol will trigger cravings and suffering. I never want to go back to that.
Patcha is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Aellyce (07-06-2021), Boondock (07-06-2021), Dee74 (07-07-2021), Fusion (07-07-2021)
Old 07-06-2021, 01:43 PM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
Book study continued.

WHAT IS RECOVERY DHARMA?
The word dharma doesn’t have a single English meaning. It’s a word in an ancient language called Sanskrit, and it can be translated as “truth,” “phenomena,” or “the nature of things.” When it’s capitalized, the word Dharma usually means the teachings of the Buddha and the practices based on those teachings.

The Buddha knew that all human beings, to one degree or another, struggle with craving—the powerful, sometimes blinding desire to change our thoughts, feelings, and circumstances. Those of us who experience addiction have been more driven to use substances or behaviors to do this, but the underlying craving is the same. And even though the Buddha didn’t talk specifically about addiction, he understood the obsessive nature of the human mind. He understood our attachment to pleasure and aversion to pain. He understood the extreme lengths we can sometimes go to, chasing what we want to feel and running away from the feelings we fear. And he found a solution.

This book describes a way to free ourselves from the suffering of addiction using Buddhist practices and principles. This program leads to recovery from addiction to substances like alcohol and drugs, and also from what we refer to as process addictions. We can also become addicted to sex, gambling, technology, work, codependence, shopping, food, media, self-harm, lying, stealing, obsessive worrying. This is a path to freedom from any repetitive and habitual behavior that causes suffering.

Many of us who have found our way here might be new to Buddhism. There are unfamiliar words, concepts, and ways of looking at the world. It can be intimidating and uncomfortable to sit in a meeting with people throwing around words like karma, Dharma, Sangha, and Buddha. If you have felt this way, you’re not alone. The purpose of this book is to lay out our path and practice in a clear and simple way that can be of use to people who are brand new to recovery and to Buddhism, as well as those with some experience. It describes the original Buddhist teachings to show where our program comes from. It introduces the essence of Buddhism’s basic teachings— the Four Noble Truths—in a way that shows how practicing the Eightfold Path is a pragmatic tool-kit for dealing with the challenges of both early and long-term recovery.

This is a renunciation-based program. Regardless of the type of addiction we identify with, all of our members commit to a basic abstinence from the substance or behavior of our addiction. For those of us whose addictions involve things like food and technology from which complete abstinence may not be possible, renunciation will mean something different, based on thoughtful boundaries and intentions in our behaviors. For some of us, abstinence from things like obsessive sexual behavior or compulsively seeking out love and relationships may be necessary as we work to understand and find meaningful boundaries. Many of us have found that after renouncing our primary addiction for a period of time, other harmful behaviors and process addictions become apparent in our lives. But rather than getting discouraged, we found that we can also meet these behaviors with compassion and patient investigation. We believe recovery is a lifelong, holistic process of peeling back layers of habits and conditioned behaviors to find our own, sometimes hidden, potential for awakening.

Patcha is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Aellyce (07-07-2021), Boondock (07-06-2021), Dee74 (07-07-2021), Fusion (07-07-2021)
Old 07-06-2021, 01:58 PM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
It's definitely been my experience that "process addictions" become apparent now that I have dropped my primary addiction to alcohol. Meditation gives me clarity about my thoughts and behaviours. One small thing I decided to change was to stop swearing, even inside my own head. That's been an interesting experiment in mindfulness. I'm not addicted to swearing, but it's a lazy habit I won't miss. I don't get mad at myself when I catch myself swearing, I just stop the thought and carry on. I doubt I'll ever identify as a Buddhist, but I find this philosophy so helpful. I've tried for years to develop a meditation practice and was never able to maintain it or sit with the initial discomfort of learning the basics. Sometimes I am climbing the walls and squirming for 10 minutes, sometimes it's so easy and effortless I decide to continue for an hour. Most of the time it's somewhere in the middle - not difficult, but not easy either. Either way, I just commit to a minimum of 10 minutes every single day. It's a non-negotiable, like abstaining from alcohol. It's the foundation everything else rests on. The benefits of doing it pay off in all the other areas of my life. It's like going to the gym. Not necessarily fun as I do it, but as I get stronger I feel the benefit of that in the rest of my life. I have found that if I treat my craving and suffering like a friend who is suffering and embrace that friend physically and emotionally with loving-kindness, I am no longer frightened of that friend and the craving and fear subside.
Patcha is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Aellyce (07-07-2021), Boondock (07-06-2021), Dee74 (07-07-2021), Fusion (07-07-2021)
Old 07-07-2021, 06:05 AM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 10,911
Blog Entries: 69
Thanks for sharing about the approaches you are using, Patcha. I will check out those mentioned that I have not heard of yet.

Sam Harris' Waking Up thing is very useful for learning to handle my cravings better, because it focuses on the bigger picture of the events of the mind and reality - things like what consciousness is, all the different things and perceptions it includes, what the self is (and how it can be an illusion)... It's not focused on addictions and recovery, but I immediately found applications to that purpose, especially the cravings as mentioned. In brief, the idea is to realize, and never forget, how minuscule room and role the transient desire for drinking takes up in that wonderful whole consciousness has access to, all the vast richness of the world and the mind we can explore and enjoy. And how, when allowing grasping on insignificant, momentary desires such as the drinking urges, we block access to that enormous and beautiful reality, also destroy it while distorting it with the effects of alcohol. I obviously have a lot more to learn and improve even in only this application since I still gave in and drank recently, but actually have had more success managing cravings with this approach lately than failures. As a result, I drink less frequently, but when I do it's still the same mindless, useless, sickening outcome, it needs to go completely.

The actual with the Waking Up practice is very simple, only 10 minutes per day as you also suggested, but the app has access to a lot more theory, conversations with prominent teachers and thinkers and so on. Unfortunately, only a few initial sessions are free, then you have to pay for it, and I almost decided not to pay thinking there are so many free meditation resources around... but I feel it's been one of the best investments of the year for me so far because it's so compatible with my interests and cognitive style, I relate to and pick up the practice pretty easily and it builds up nicely, with lots of repetitions, which cement it more in the mind. Also very enjoyable, I look forward to practicing each day. The teacher and practice is a bit more cognitive and theoretical than some of the meditations I've tried before that involve more of that loving-kindness you mentioned (including in Recovery Dharma meetings), but I think this is a better start as it is easier for me to get into, due to my own style. But apparently some of those things focusing on loving-kindness and acceptance are coming, I'm just not there with the course yet, started from complete beginner level.

Another teacher I love and studied a lot with in the past is Alan Wallace - similar in that he also occupies a space between western science and eastern spirituality. I obviously am drawn to these approaches and teachers because it's my natural orientation as well, but Wallace gets vey complex and high-level. I love that but lack foundation in many ways and, right now, I need something simpler and more directly applicable to my recovery, hence the Harris method. I think Harris will also get into the same principles later that are inherent to Vipassana practice and Dzogchen teachings. I can even imagine staying somewhere in Asia to dive into some of these much more deeply at some point at a monastery or something, similarly to what these teachers I like had done themselves. But I probably need to progress more with my recovery first and have some personal obligations to take care of where I am right now, before I would be comfortable doing anything like that.
Aellyce is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Aellyce For This Useful Post:
Dee74 (07-07-2021), Fusion (07-08-2021), Patcha (07-07-2021)
Old 07-07-2021, 02:02 PM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
I hear you on cognitive styles!! I think that's key - finding something that works with the way our minds work. I think that's a really profound insight. I have tried a few different recovery methods but found the cognitive dissonance and the need to suspend disbelief crazy making. I love the idea of the "vast richness" of the world and the mind. What a lovely concept! At some point I'd like to spend time in a monastery too, but right now I'm taking care of my elderly mother so that's the priority.
Patcha is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Dee74 (07-07-2021), Fusion (07-08-2021)
Old 07-07-2021, 02:06 PM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
Book study continued

What is Recovery Dharma (continued)

Our program is peer-led: we don’t follow any one teacher or leader. We support each other as partners walking the path of recovery together. This is not a program based in dogma or religion, but in finding the truth for ourselves. This is wisdom that has worked for us, but it is not the only path. It’s fully compatible with other spiritual paths and programs of recovery. We know from our own experience that true recovery is only possible with the intention of radical honesty, understanding, awareness, and integrity, and we trust you to discover your own path. We believe this program can help you do just that.

Ours is a program that asks us to never stop growing. It asks us to own our choices and be responsible for our own healing. It’s based on kindness, generosity, forgiveness, and deep compassion. We do not rely on tools of shame and fear as motivation. We know these haven’t worked in our own individual pasts, and have often created more struggle and suffering through relapse and discouragement. The courage it takes to recover from addiction is ultimately courage of the heart, and we aim to support each other as we commit to this brave work.

Many of us have spent our lives beating ourselves up. In this program, we renounce violence and doing harm, including the harm and violence we do to ourselves. We believe in the healing power of forgiveness. We put our trust in our own potential to awaken and recover, in the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha, and in the people we meet and connect with in meetings and throughout our journey in recovery.

The truth is that we can never truly escape the circumstances and conditions that are part of the human condition. We’ve tried that already—through drugs and alcohol, through sex and codependency, through gambling and technology, through work and shopping, through food or the restriction of food, through obsession and the futile attempts to control our experiences and feelings—and we’re here because we realized it didn’t work. This is a program that asks us to recognize and accept that some pain and disappointment will always be present, to investigate the unskillful ways we have dealt with that pain in the past, and to develop a habit of understanding, compassion, and mercy toward our own pain, the pain of others, and the pain we have caused others due to our ignorance and confusion. That acceptance is what brings freedom from the suffering that made our pain unbearable.

This book is only an introduction to a path that can bring liberation and freedom from the cycle of suffering created by addiction. The intention, and the hope, is that every person on the path will be empowered to make it their own.

May you be happy.

May you be at ease.

May you be free from suffering.
Patcha is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Dee74 (07-07-2021), Fusion (07-08-2021)
Old 07-07-2021, 02:13 PM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
Every word of this rings true and mirrors my own experience with addiction and recovery. The illuminating thought here for me is that I don't need to beat myself up for relapses. If only I could have back all the time spent berating myself for relapsing or for struggling with the recovery journey. I had no idea that gentleness towards my failures, and towards myself, was an option. Buddhist philosophy has given me a whole new way of living and being. I can't believe I got into my 50s before I found these things out. When I was in my early 20s I discovered self-help and positive thinking. It was a revolution then because I didn't know I could actively engage with my mind and take control of my thoughts, instead of just being dragged around by whatever was happening in my head. Weird, huh?
Patcha is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Dee74 (07-07-2021), Fusion (07-08-2021)
Old 07-08-2021, 01:51 PM
  # 13 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
Book study continued

Where to Begin

So how can we use Buddhism for our recovery? There are three ways in which we focus our energy: not step by step, but in a holistic way as our insight and our awareness grow.

We come to understand the Four Noble Truths and use them as a guide for our own path of recovery. This program doesn’t ask us to believe in anything other than our own potential to wake up: just allowing ourselves to believe that it’s possible, or even that it might be possible. We begin to believe that our own efforts will make a difference. This is the realization that there is a way to recover and then the decision to start that process.

As we learn about the Four Noble Truths—including the Eightfold Path that leads to the end of the suffering caused by addiction—we put these principles into practice in our lives. This book includes an introduction to these truths, and there are many ways to continue studying them. The Eightfold Path is a guide to a nonharming way of being in the world. It’s not just a philosophy, but a plan of action.

Meditation is an essential part of the program. This book has some basic instructions so you can start right away. Most of us have found it very helpful to attend meetings that include an opportunity to practice meditation with others. A key to this program is establishing a regular meditation practice, in and outside of meetings. This will help us begin the process of investigating our own minds, our reactivity, and our behavior. We look deeply at the nature and causes of our suffering so we can find a path to freedom that’s based on authentic self-knowledge.

The following chapters talk about these three aspects of the program—the “three jewels” of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha—as a way of developing the wisdom, ethical conduct, and spiritual practice that we have found leads to recovery. We hope that people and groups will use this book in ways that are useful for their own processes of recovery. We offer some suggestions in that spirit. You’re invited to take what works for you and leave the rest.
Patcha is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Aellyce (07-08-2021), MesaMan (07-10-2021)
Old 07-08-2021, 01:57 PM
  # 14 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
I would not have believed that a simple meditation practice could have such profound rewards if I hadn't experienced it myself. I am astonished at the changes in myself, and how much my overall emotional and mental wellbeing has improved. I experience a lot of clarity and insight into my own toxic behaviours, and I am 100% willing to look at them and change. I was encouraged to find "virtuous friends" who are on the same path. I participate in a forum for lay Buddhists t help with that, and starting this book study here is another activity in relation to that end. Even if people aren't commenting, I hope that they find some use in what I am posting. If not, I'll just post to myself for posterity! I find this philosophy so practical and useful for all of my life, not just recovery. I have found other recovery systems to be, in my experience, fear and shame based. That might work for some people, but not for me. The gentleness of this path is exactly what I need right now.
Patcha is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Aellyce (07-08-2021), Dee74 (07-08-2021)
Old 07-09-2021, 01:49 PM
  # 15 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
Book study continued

Where to begin continued:

At the end of each section are a series of questions to explore. These Inquiries can be used as part of a formal process of self-investigation with a mentor, wise friend, or group; as tools to explore a specific life situation; as guides for a daily self-inquiry practice; or as meeting discussion topics. A wise friend or mentor can be of great help in deepening your understanding, and we encourage you to reach out to people you encounter at meetings. Supportive friendships are an integral part of the practice. The questions may bring up shame, guilt, or sadness; or, for some, they may potentially activate trauma. It can be very beneficial to get supports set up ahead of time, such as taking the questions only one at a time, timing the work so you can have a chance to engage in self-care afterwards, and so forth. The intent of the questions is to deepen our practice so we can experience relief sooner, not to bring us more suffering.

Our path is not a checklist, but is rather a practice in which we choose where and how to invest our energy in a way that is both wise and compassionate toward ourselves and others. We do not “complete” our journey based on how much we meditate or how many meetings we go to or how many written inventories we’ve completed. The practice of the Eightfold Path helps us develop insight and self-compassion as we begin to look into the causes and conditions that led to our own suffering with addiction. The tools will come to bear the signs of wear and markings of our using them.

This path doesn’t have an end. Your life, like all of ours, will probably continue to present you with challenges. What the path does offer, however, is a way out of the suffering that our habitual reactions to challenges often bring, and an end to the illusion of escape we tried to find in substances or behaviors. It’s a way to break our own chains with our own hands. It’s a path of freedom.
Patcha is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Aellyce (07-10-2021), Dee74 (07-10-2021)
Old 07-09-2021, 01:52 PM
  # 16 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
That last paragraph! Habitual reactions that cause suffering. Oof. Rings so true. And the illusion of escape in substances/behaviours. It's so exhausting to think about that vicious circle. My habit was to drink to destress and deal with my exhaustion. The drinking causes my stress and exhaustion. So I'd drink to deal with it. The endless insanity of it.
Patcha is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Aellyce (07-10-2021), Dee74 (07-10-2021)
Old 07-10-2021, 05:26 AM
  # 17 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 10,911
Blog Entries: 69
I completely agree with the benefits of a regular meditation practice that suits someone who's interested in it. I've noticed positive effects even just after relatively short periods of time, e.g. when I did retreats in the past, and also in the last few weeks while practicing almost every day. Even when I had lapses with drinking - I never went on long benders in my life (typical is a day binge, usually less), so I guess relatively easier to re-adjust and also not be so messed up that I struggle with lasting, extreme anxiety and depression as an effect of the alcohol. I also hear you on RD's more gentle treatment of relapses - similar in SMART (the other program I like the best). Initially, I perceived that as too lassez-faire, thought it might actually promote relapses by being so accepting, but I see it differently now, not only because I experienced it first-hand but can also see how much more comfortable people are to actually not run away from those programs when they relapse, driven by shame or a sense of failure... and many make it into more stable recovery eventually.

On the escaping in general, I also just wrote about that in a thread recently. I think it's a much bigger part of human nature in general, but some of us prone to using substances and other addictive habits definitely act out that drive more destructively. I really like the parts of the teachings from Buddhism that all escaping is an illusion and there is no tangible way out of reality for any of us. I'm also very interested in the different views of Reality in those teachings and how our own practice can help explore it first hand, although this is not a primary objective of Recovery Dharma, I think. Those are some more abstract elements, but the ones I'm personally the most drawn to, and they help to see my addiction in a different light now.
Aellyce is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Aellyce For This Useful Post:
Dee74 (07-10-2021)
Old 07-10-2021, 02:22 PM
  # 18 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
No tangible way out of reality. Wow! Yes, that's a very profound concept. I've had times in my life where I wished my entire being, including my soul if it exists, could just end. Sometimes I find reality very hard to bear. Meditation is the opposite of escape, I think. It's a relief to be able to just sit with myself with no agenda, no distracting activities, nothing to do and nowhere to go. It was difficult at first, now I look forward to it. I can't escape from myself, unfortuantely! Wherever I go, there I am!

Patcha is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Aellyce (07-12-2021), Dee74 (07-10-2021)
Old 07-10-2021, 02:25 PM
  # 19 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
Book study continued:

THE PRACTICE

Renunciation: We understand addiction to describe the overwhelming craving and compulsive use of substances or behaviors in order to escape present-time reality, either by clinging to pleasure or running from pain. We commit to the intention of abstinence from alcohol and other addictive substances. For those of us recovering from process addictions, particularly those for which complete abstinence is not possible, we also identify and commit to wise boundaries around our harmful behaviors, preferably with the help of a mentor or therapeutic professional.

Meditation: We commit to the intention of developing a daily meditation practice. We use meditation as a tool to investigate our actions, intentions, and reactivity. Meditation is a personal practice, and we commit to finding a balanced effort toward this and other healthy practices that are appropriate to our own journey on the path.

Meetings: We attend recovery meetings whenever possible, in person and/or online. Some may wish to be part of other recovery fellowships and Buddhist communities. In early recovery, it is recommended to attend a recovery meeting as often as possible. For many that may mean every day. We also commit to becoming an active part of the community, offering our own experiences and service wherever possible.

The Path: We commit to deepening our understanding of the Four Noble Truths and to practicing the Eightfold Path in our daily lives.

Inquiry and Investigation: We explore the Four Noble Truths as they relate to our addictive behavior through writing and sharing in-depth, detailed Inquiries. These can be worked with the guidance of a mentor, in partnership with a trusted friend, or with a group. As we complete our written Inquiries, we undertake to hold ourselves accountable and take direct responsibility for our actions, which includes making amends for the harm we have caused in our past. .

Sangha, Wise Friends, Mentors: We cultivate relationships within a recovery community, to both support our own recovery and support the recovery of others. After we have completed significant work on our Inquiries, established a meditation practice, and achieved renunciation from our addictive behaviors, we can then become mentors to help others on their path to liberation from addiction. Anyone with any period of time of renunciation and practice can be of service to others in their sangha. When mentors are not available, a group of wise friends can act as partners in self-inquiry and support each other’s practice.

Growth: We continue our study of these Buddhist practices through reading, listening to dharma talks, visiting and becoming members of recovery and spiritual sanghas, and attending meditation or dharma retreats when we believe these practices will contribute to our understanding and wisdom. We undertake a lifelong journey of growth and awakening.
Patcha is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Dee74 (07-10-2021), MesaMan (07-18-2021)
Old 07-10-2021, 02:26 PM
  # 20 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Patcha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2019
Posts: 499
Blog Entries: 1
Well those sound like reasonable steps! This is my first exposure to Recovery Dharma, so I am reading it for the first time. I'll go along with the experiment and find a RD meeting to attend and report back on my findings. For science!
Patcha is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Patcha For This Useful Post:
Dee74 (07-10-2021)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:11 AM.