When I reflect deeply on this step, I can see how unreliable my addictions are. In the end they bring great suffering. Once upon a time, my addictive habitual behaviours were at the centre of my life. I was so unhappy. I didn’t realize how unhappy I was until I began to place more reliable refuges at the centre of my life.
In the 12 step tradition people turn their lives over to a God of their understanding, they do this because it is a reliable refuge. Placing a God of your understanding at the centre of your life is far more reliable than our addictions.
In Buddhism we call this Going for Refuge, or taking Refuge in the Three Jewels. We take refuge in the Buddha, not the human being, but the aspiration of what the Buddha attained at the centre of our lives. We place the Dharma, the truth, the teachings at the centre. And we place the Sangha, the enlightened spiritual community that has gone before us.
The Eight Steps
- Step one: Accepting that this human life will bring suffering
- Step two: Seeing how we can create extra suffering in our lives
- Step three: Embracing impermanence to show us that our suffering can end
- Step four: Being willing to step onto the path of recovery and discover freedom
- Step five: Transforming our speech, actions and livelihood and Mindful awareness of what addiction is
- Step six: Placing positive values at the centre of our lives and Step six: Another look
- Step seven: Making every effort to stay on the path of recovery
- Step eight: Helping others to share the benefits we have gained
So we turn our lives over to freedom and liberation from Samsara, from the hell of our minds.
We can begin by turning our lives over to the breath. Often we turn our lives over to our thoughts, because we think we are our thoughts. We think our thoughts are facts. Often we lean into our suffering with thought and become so overwhelmed that we end up in the vicious cycle of addiction.
If we leaned into our suffering with breath, disappeared into the breath rather than disappearing into the thoughts, when we are at risk, it may keep us abstinent and sober.
- So reflect on what is at the centre of your life.
- What are you turning your life over to?
- What is your God of understanding? Is it reliable?
- What are you going to refuge too when things get hard in life?
For a free sample of the book study and 21 meditations of “Eight Step Recovery – Using The Buddha’s Teachings To Overcome Addiction,” please email: firstname.lastname@example.org