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Can The Spiritual Buddhist Approach Turn The Tides Against Addiction?


When we think of Buddhism, we often associate it with the practice of letting go. For Buddhists, letting go of the different cravings for material things will bring them on a spiritual path towards escaping human suffering. Did you notice how apt it is to associate addiction recovery with Buddhist beliefs? After all, addiction thrives on the need to satisfy cravings. By stopping the cravings, we are stopping addiction right in its track. But how do you embark on the spiritual Buddhist approach for addiction recovery to keep you away from your next “fix”?

Understanding the Difference between Embracing Buddhism and Embracing the Spiritual Buddhist Approach

Embracing the spiritual Buddhist approach does not mean that you embrace Buddhism nor that you must be a practicing Buddhist. Though spirituality means different things to different people, we need to keep the religious faith separate from the act of developing spirituality. You can embark on a spiritual journey based on the values and directions it provides you, even without practicing the religion itself.

Think about it, Buddha himself wasn’t a Buddhist to begin with. The real power lies in Buddha’s teachings and philosophies which help shaped the spiritual Buddhist approach that we can use to seek the truth about addiction, and the meaning of letting addiction go.

What does the Spiritual Buddhist Approach for Addiction Recovery Entail?

Although there isn’t a fixed definition of what the spiritual Buddhist approach brings to the niche of addiction treatment, many will agree that it generally consists of these three key features:

  • Meditation

His Holiness the Dalai Lama once said that it’s important to train the brain to boost self-restraint and balance emotions in preventing drug abuse. This is where meditation comes in perfectly. Addicts often have sporadic thoughts pulsing through their minds, and it’s hard to enjoy a still moment where they invest their entire focus on themselves, and nothing else. The meditative practice can calm the addicted mind because it helps us to focus on the current moment – the here and now.

Meditation also invites the practitioner to develop their propensity to let go of things. Eyes closed, sitting cross-legged, and breathing calmly through the nose, addicts can train their mind and gain more self-control over the urge that is constantly taunting them to pick up the next joint or drink.

  • Mindful Recovery

Although mindfulness is often talked about when the spiritual Buddhist approach is mentioned, mindful recovery does more than just developing mindfulness. When we are talking about mindful recovery, it encompasses a more rounded framework of enabling recovery when you practice and apply mindfulness to your daily activities.

For example, many treatment centers that adopt the spiritual Buddhist approach create the opportunity for addicts to engage in community service. During such community service programs, addicts can teach and help others, creating chances to build unique relationships that enhance their mindful recovery journey.

  • Yoga

Buddhism and Yoga are sister traditions which share many similar principles and practices, so it is not surprising to know that Yoga is often used to help addicts create a peaceful union of body, mind and spirit. Emphasizing on an eight-fold approach to life, Yoga features the need to cultivate breathing control as practitioners work through the different postures. When Yoga is done on a daily basis, you can develop good breath control as well as see an increase in your physical stamina. This then further helps you in strengthening your mental capacity to combat addiction.

An interesting thing that you should know is that all these key features often present in a spiritual Buddhist approach for addiction recovery are interwoven and interlinked. How so, you may ask. Well, Yoga is a great tool for building awareness about the body and breathing. This helps to prepare the practitioners for quality meditation later on. Meditation itself is about developing mindfulness, and can build a strong foundation for mindful recovery to happen. See the connecting dots?

What does Research Say about the Spiritual Buddhist Approach and Addiction Treatment?

Recent research studies show that there are benefits to adopting the spiritual Buddhist approach for addressing addiction problems. For example, brief meditation training has been found to reduce smoking cravings while yoga and mindfulness are said to be good complementary therapies for preventing and treating addictive behaviors.

Generally, research findings support the importance of spirituality (though not necessarily the Buddhist-oriented type only) for better health and wellness. However, we must not discount the fact that relying purely on the spiritual Buddhist approach for addiction recovery is not the best solution. What you should realize is that using it as a complementary therapy to other effective addiction treatments such as medical detox will help to yield better success rates of attaining complete addiction recovery.

Ready to Embrace the Spiritual Buddhist Approach?

Today, more than ever, holistic addiction treatment programs have brought many success stories to the forefront. It can be argued that without the influence from the spiritual Buddhist approach, such programs might not have experienced the popularity and results they have enjoyed in the last decade.

If you are ready to incorporate some elements found in the spiritual Buddhist approach into your addiction treatment such as utilizing mindfulness therapy, it’s important for you to do research on your own so that you can better prepare yourself to make the most of it.

Also, if you have already shortlisted a holistic addiction treatment center to enroll in, the admission officer can provide more information about the types of rehab therapies they specialize in, and this presents a golden opportunity for you to learn more about whether the center offers quality programs that tap on the spiritual Buddhist approach to treat addiction. Keep an open mind and give it a try because when you do so, recovery certainly isn’t too far away.



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