Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-Step Program offers a path of escape from the cycle of dependency, but it’s a path that’s heavily reliant on belief in a deity. Can Buddhism provide an alternative approach to addiction? Buddhist and incarcerated drug-offender Rich Cormier investigates “12-Step Buddhism” as outlined in a new book by Darren Littlejohn.
Traditional 12-Step programs involve a God-based spiritual approach. The “12-Step Buddhist” emphasizes that it is important to develop a strong spiritual foundation for any attempt at recovery to be successful, and points out that addicts who are resistant to the customary system because they don’t believe in God are forced to adapt or make do in order to find support.
Darren Littlejohn offers an alternative spiritual path that works in conjunction with the 12-Step process: a path that is aimed not only at Buddhists but at anyone interested in a non-theistic approach to recovery. His experiences with addiction, recovery, and Buddhism provide those seeking to overcome addictions with a number of tools that can be used to enhance existing recovery strategies. The book, however, can be of benefit to a wider audience. We’re all addicted to something: “Because of the numerous forms of addiction in our culture, very few of us are left unaffected by the disease,” Littlejohn explains.