Step seven: Making every effort to stay on the path of recovery

November 7, 2015


Once you think you’ve got recovery, you’ve lost your recovery. Because what is recovery? It is a path that can take us to liberation and freedom. Recovery is always changing. What it looked like when you first had one week of abstinence, is very different to what it will look like after one year or after 30 years.

‘Once an addict always an addict’, is often a saying we hear. There is good sense in this phrase, because it reminds us not to delude ourselves, and think: ‘right i’ve not picked up my choice of distraction for six months I’m okay now’.

Let’s not delude ourselves because we can think the same after 20 years … Read more »

Lapse or relapse?

September 9, 2015

Businessman falling‘Often the fear of a relapse can be the trigger for us to slip and slide. Just as lapses must be recognized as an opportunity to work our program of recovery diligently, the relapse must also be seen as a GIFT: A Great Indicator For Throwing Stuff out. They are the emergency alarm bell telling us we are on fire, and need to stop and pause to put the fire out. Dreading the relapse will just put us onto the vicious cycle of addiction.’ —Eight Step Recovery: Using The Buddha’s Teachings to Overcome Addiction.

Relapse is part of the continuum for recovery. Few people manage to get total abstinence of their recovering journey from day … Read more »

Walking my talk

April 6, 2015

cashew nuts coated wasabiI decided it was about time I make some more effort at walking my talk. So what better opportunity do I have but to work through the 8 steps that I co-founded to take me out of my misery? Although many of the teachings I speak about in the book, were inspirations for me to change my life. I’ve not surrendered to a mentor/sponsor to take me systematically through the set of 8 steps.

While writing the notes on 8 step meetings, which I should say I attended daily while working in India for the month of January, and also writing on how to mentor someone in the program, I thought wouldn’t it be great … Read more »

Just another day

January 5, 2015

морозное утро на озереJust another day, a new moment. How liberating is that? This new moment can shape the next moment. This new moment can change our lives. We don’t have to wait for a new year to arrive to make changes. Although it is an opportunity to remind us to reflect on our lives, let go of regrets and live wisely in the moment.

So in the spirit of this old year coming to completion and the new year coming into fruition. Here is a new year message from the London Buddhist Centre. I couldn’t say it any better.

I have much gratitude for London Buddhist Centre, every time I am there, it is like a new … Read more »

Step four: Being willing to step onto the path of recovery and discover freedom

December 1, 2014

My Way or The Highway or the direct path to the four noble truths, the noble 8 fold pathIn this 8 step recovery program – we speak about being willing. We use this word because if one wants recovery, they have to be willing to step onto the path. Too many of us bargain with our recovery. We want it, but we don’t want to do the work it takes to get the recovery. It’s my way or the high way. There is only one path in the Buddhist tradition to recovery, and that is the direct path of the four noble truths and the noble eightfold path. Of course this path comes in many different formulations and lists.

Last month, I heard the The Dalai Lama say: ‘The Mahayana teachings are an … Read more »

Step three: Embracing impermanence to show us that our suffering can end

November 3, 2014

sand in handsAs I reflect on this step, I can’t but help say a prayer for my dear friend, who hung herself last month, because as she wrote in her note, ‘life was too painful’. Sadly my friend is not unique in thinking this, many people have these thoughts, and some of these people eventually take their lives.

Is there anything we can do to help someone who expresses such pain?

Whatever we do it has to be unconditional. That said, the Buddhist teachings can be so optimistic, so liberating if we are ready for the teachings to appear in our lives. Living with the truth of impermanence can help us to find freedom. Even if our … Read more »

Step two – seeing how we can create extra suffering in our lives

September 1, 2014

Stick with the first dartThe Buddha was asked, what is the difference between how an ordinary person and a wise person responds to pain? He replied with the analogy of the two darts. All of us experience pain – whether that is physical pain like catching your finger in the door or mental pain such as when someone rejects you. This is the first dart, which we could call primary suffering.

An ordinary person then gets caught up in trying to push away or avoid the pain; in blaming themselves or others, or feeling self-pity. This has the effect of making matters worse: the second dart, which we can call secondary suffering. A wise person just has the first … Read more »

Accepting that this human life will bring suffering

August 4, 2014

Standing Buddha statue, ThailandStep one – Accepting that this human life will bring suffering – is pointing us in the direction of truth. Ask yourself what are you avoiding? What are you hiding from? Most human beings are avoiding suffering. Most human beings are hiding from suffering underneath a veneer of coping mechanisms.

This step acknowledges the different types of suffering we can experience. Most commonly the suffering of ageing, sickness and death. We can not avoid any of these truths, we can not hide from these truths either. So we may as well face them gracefully.

How we may ask? We do this with kindly acceptance. Acceptance is in the present moment. When suffering arises; if we … Read more »

Eight step recovery meetings

June 2, 2014

An open heart is all you need to bring to a meetingWe have received several requests on a meeting format for Eight Step Recovery – Using The Buddha’s Teachings to Overcome Addiction. Already we have heard of groups setting up in the UK and Canada which are working the steps with a wide range of addictions. We hope groups will continue to spring up all over the globe. When the book goes into second edition we will include a meeting format as we can see that this was an aspect that we didn’t consider to include.

To be able to write a book and explain our Eight Steps, we need to put them in an order. The order has a certain logical structure that can be … Read more »

Tricycle magazine explores ‘dharma drunks’

May 12, 2014
Noah Levine – Author of Refuge Recovery – A Buddhist Path to Recovering from Addiction

Last month I asked the question, why another book on recovery? In the summer issue of Tricycle, Joan Duncan Oliver, a contributing editor and the editor of Commit to Sit, an anthology of Tricycle articles, also gives her view on this topic too. Tricycle has kindly let me quote the first few paragraphs while also including a link to the rest of the article.

‘Buddhist practitioners are skewing younger. Add to that growing concern about drug abuse in America, and it’s hardly surprising that the Buddhist recovery field is expanding. Back in 1993, Mel Ash, then a dharma teacher … Read more »