Recovery Dharma: Buddhist Approach to Addiction Recovery
When it comes to addiction and recovery, there is no one-size-fits-all path.
People can often benefit from several treatment modalities and a range of different methods. One holistic, peer-led addiction support program is the Buddhist addiction recovery fellowship Recovery Dharma.
This recovery program is based on traditional Buddhist practices. Buddhism dates back over 2,500 years and is rooted in many beliefs, including that meditation, acceptance of the present moment, and spiritual work are ways to end suffering. Buddhism originated in India and is one of the largest religions in the world.
Recovery Dharma has its roots in Buddhist practices that are used in the addiction recovery process. Mindfulness, one of the core principles of Buddhist addiction treatment, is scientifically proven to be highly effective in not only treating addiction, also depression, anxiety, insomnia, and a host of other things.
Keep reading to learn more about Recovery Dharma and how it can help you recover from addiction.
What Is Recovery Dharma?
Recovery Dharma is a community of peers that encourages Buddhist-based recovery to addiction.
This type of Buddhist addiction recovery brings together those suffering from substance use disorders. The unity and bond shared between members helps them become free from the suffering that addiction has caused. It helps to strengthen and support your journey of recovery.
The recovery program uses Buddhist practices of wisdom, compassion, community, and meditation to help you heal and recover.
Although the Recovery Dharma movement is based on community and a peer-led experience, your journey will be unique. You lead your recovery path, with the help and support from the rest of the community.
Unlike other recovery programs, Recovery Dharma is open to anyone suffering from addictive behaviors and looking to recover. It welcomes those who are suffering from substance use disorders, addictive tendencies, eating disorders, codependency, behavioral addictions, and so on.
The support provided in Recovery Dharma helps you create your path to recovery and freedom.
What Are the Practices of Recovery Dharma?
The practices of Recovery Dharma are rooted in traditional Buddhist teachings. It is believed that Buddhist practices can help you become free of addiction and suffering. For this reason, Buddhist addiction treatment options are gaining traction and becoming more widespread.
According to these teachings, practicing meditation, honoring the Four Noble Truths, and receiving support from the community (or sangha in Sanskrit), can all help you in addiction recovery.
Meditation has a plethora of benefits for the body and mind. Additionally, the support of a community with similar experiences is crucial for the recovery journey.
With the Four Noble Truths, there are subsequent commitments. Buddhist teachings tell us that we can end our suffering by acknowledging these truths. The Recovery Dharma program has its roots in these teachings.
Here are the Four Noble Truths:
- There is suffering
- Suffering has a cause
- Suffering has an end
- There is a journey that helps lead to the end of suffering
Along with these Truths are four commitments to understand each.
The commitment to understanding the existence of suffering, understanding how craving leads to suffering, understanding that less craving results in less suffering, and reinforcing the commitment to the path that ends suffering. Buddhist addiction treatment teaches that by accepting the world just as it is–not as we would like it to be–we can truly heal and create a more meaningful life.
What Are the Benefits of Recovery Dharma?
Recovery Dharma comes with a number of benefits. Not only can these recovery practices help you in your struggle with addiction, but they can also help you in daily life.
Buddhist addiction treatment practices such as mediation, mindfulness, and breathing can be very effective in helping you navigate life’s daily stressors, even those outside of addiction.
Here are some of the benefits of mediation and mindfulness:
- Helps to reduce stress
- Improves stress-related conditions
- Calms anxiety and reduces depression
- Improves mental and emotional health
- Promotes problem-solving skills
- Improves attention span
- Helps to decrease addictive cravings
- Promotes better sleep
- Helps to decrease blood pressure
Meditation is one of the pillars of Buddhist practices and is also an internal part of Recovery Dharma. Meditation and mindfulness are great coping strategies if you’re struggling with stressors or additive urges.
What Type of Addiction Can Recovery Dharma Help With?
Many treatment programs are specific to one type of addiction. You might be familiar with AA for those suffering from alcohol addiction, or NA for those with drug addiction.
Unlike these recovery programs, Buddhist addiction treatment as it is presented by Recovery Dharma may be applied to any type of addiction.
Some are suffering from substance abuse addictions such as alcohol, narcotics, or prescription drugs. Others are coping with process addictions such as sex, gambling, or shopping. Perhaps some have eating disorders or are self-harming.
Recovery Dharma and Buddhist addiction treatment can help you with any of these addictions. If you are suffering from these addictive tendencies and you have a willingness to recover, the program is for you.
The right team of compassionate professionals can help curate a treatment plan to suit all of your needs.
Will I Have to Abstain From Drugs and Alcohol With Recovery Dharma?
This recovery program encourages sobriety from all substances that can alter the mind. As part of living an ethical and fulfilling life, Recovery Dharma does require abstinence if your addiction involves harmful substances.
The purpose of Recovery Dharma is to let go of the need to have an intoxicating experience. This is also known as renunciation. It involves giving up substances that cause our suffering.
This also means being mindful of a subconscious process called “addiction switching.” This involves avoiding one addictive behavior but replacing it with another one.
There are cases in which it is not possible to abstain from a certain addiction. For example, if you have an eating disorder, you cannot abstain from food. Or if you have an addiction to technology, it might not be possible to fully abstain.
For these circumstances, you must be vigilant and mindful of your behavior. Setting intentions and boundaries with these behaviors is crucial to a healthy recovery.
Can Recovery Dharma Help Relapse Prevention?
When it comes to relapse prevention, each individual will have a unique post-treatment plan.
As previously mentioned, one of the biggest benefits of Recovery Dharma is that the practices with this treatment modality can help in many ways long after the addictive tendencies have ceased.
If you are experiencing urges and cravings, the practices taught in Recovery Dharma can help you work through them without relapsing. Additionally, if you experience stressors and triggers for your addiction, these practices can also help bring you back to yourself.
Just like Recovery Dharma can act as an added component to other treatment programs, it can do the same for relapse prevention. It is not uncommon to use this program in conjunction with other treatment modalities.
There are ongoing Recover Dharma weekly meetings that you can attend to help you in your recovery and help you prevent a relapse.
The Flatirons free weekly Recovery Dharma meeting is a great option for ongoing support with a great community of dedicated members. Hosted every Wednesday evening, it is currently the only in-person Recovery Dharma meeting in the Boulder, Colorado area.
What Can I Expect in a Recovery Dharma Meeting?
If you are looking for addiction help, here is what you can expect from a Recovery Dharma meeting.
The weekly meetings help the group members come together to meditate, study the Dharma, and share their experiences. A typical meeting begins with some related readings, followed by a guided meditation.
After the group meditation, there is another reading that is meant to inspire conversation. Group members then go around and share their thoughts on the topic of the readings. Members also have the option to share any of their experiences or struggles.
The community as a whole decides the flow of the meeting. You can share your experiences and through with the group, but you are not forced to do so. There is also often time to mingle and meet others after the meeting.
The meetings operate in a way that benefits the group as a whole. The health, safety, and well-being of the group is the most important aspect of the Recovery Dharma. There are rules and guidelines that prevent misconduct and promote ethical practices.
The meetings are also free of charge but members can donate funds after the meeting.
Discover Your Recovery Journey With Recovery Dharma
With so many treatment options available for addiction recovery, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. Recovery Dharma is an alternative program to traditional treatment methods. It can not only help you with addiction recovery but also manage daily stressors.
Recovery Dharma can help you prevent relapse with meditative practices and a supportive community. You can use this program in addition to other forms of addiction treatment for a holistic approach to recovery.