Causes and Conditions of Addiction

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trixie22's picture

How do I help my 16 year old, who's bipolar and addicted? Just today I was looking over your teachings, to learn more to see how I can help my daughter. Help me to help her?
I wrote this today when all I could do was ly there with the heartache, and a maple ki floated onto me

It's fall and I'm lying on my deck, looking up into the foliage of the massive maple tree that's thankfully yet vainly shielding me from the mockingly cheerful sky.
A maple ki, as if it just saw me ly down, let go of its branch and helicoptered down into my hand. Did I save it? Did it want to be saved? I take my hand and place it over the grass and let the ki finish its journey. Did I save it just now? Will it grow now that it's in the grass?
Acting as though they are jealous, a dozen or so maple ki's follow suit and let go of their branch; but they are far from my hand and keep falling onto the damned roof. Do they not want to grow into trees? They have no idea, no fortitude, do they?...perhaps the wind will act as their saviour and blow them onto the fertile ground.
Unknown; uncertainty; out of my control....how does one live with this when so much is at stake? How do you save something that doesn't know it needs saving or doesn't want to be saved, and is quite content to spend the winter on the roof?
A squirrel is now doing it's daily route on the maple branches, unkowingly creating a plethora of chaos and carnage, shaking multitudes of ki's either to their doom or salvation. Which will it be for the ki? Which will it be for my daughter?

Tharpa Pema's picture

Dear Trixie:

I hear your anxiety and despair. May you receive the help you desire. I am a member of AlAnon. Have you tried a family group for Narcotics Anonymous? I have found AlAnon to be life-changing.

trixie22's picture

I am meeting up with a friend tonight who goes to nar-anon. I hope to gain knowledge, experience ..anything that will help us help her. Thank you so much for your offering, namaste, may all be free from suffering

Katarina Fischer's picture

You are a great teacher. Thank you

Joshkorda1's picture

bows katarina!
metta, j

libbykopo's picture

I don't know if you're still checking these comments--but I listen to these talks over and over. They have really helped me! Many thanks!

Maybe someday I will get to Brooklyn and one of your classes there: in the meantime, I just want to tell you that you are the ONLY teacher on Tricycle who has made me laugh aloud.

This was when you were talking about imagining someone you respected saying something like:

"Don't pay your bills now. It would be much better to just shop."

I repeat this often and it never fails to lighten things up -- and remind me of what I really want to be doing. And should be doing.

Joshkorda1's picture

hi libby--
just checked in for the first time since last september. thanks so much for your kind remarks. if you're on facebook, i hope you'll send a friend request, as i post on recovery and dharma related topics frequently.
metta, j

vince.cullen's picture

This an excerpt from a longer comment that I made after the last episode. I’m sorry if this seems like two bites of the cherry but I’ve only just realised that that comment is only visible to subscribers, so I thought I would just post this small extract here for the benefit of all :

"As a result of my personal investigations and practice, I have set out some ideas of what might be helpful to secure a comfortable, long-lasting and happy recovery at www.5th-precept.org/html/foundations.html .... You might just recognise many of these components from your "Making Friends with Your Demons and Hungry Ghosts: Buddhist Tools for Recovery" here on Tricycle.

"I have produced a little booklet, a work-in-progress, that I have been handing out at Hungry Ghost Recovery Retreats ( www.hungryghostretreats.org ) and to new members of the Fifth Precept Sangha ( www.5th-precept.org ) in the UK that can be downloaded from : http://www.5th-precept.org/From-Hungry-Ghost-to-Being-Human-(Taking-Sajja-Beyond-Thamkrabok).pdf "

[You'll need to cut&paste the booklet link into your browser]"

Thank you again Josh.

Three bows to you.

Best wishes and Metta to all,

Vince

(h) +44 1635-552665
(m) +44 7909-545380

www.5th-precept.org
www.TARA-detox.org
www.HungryGhostRetreats.org
_________________________________
He who formerly was reckless
and afterwards became sober,
brightens up this world,
like the moon when freed from clouds.
__________________________________
The Buddha (DHAMMAPADA verse #172)

Joshkorda1's picture

To all of you who took priceless time from your lives to watch these videos i am deeply humbled and grateful. Know that you can find an immediate Facebook friend by simply sending a request; for those who choose to stay away from FB, email me at korda.josh@gmail.com.
My talks are all gathered at one location, where they're easy to sort and download for free:
http://dharmapunxnyc.podbean.com.
Notes to these talks, and others I give, are posted at http://dharmapunxnyc.blogspot.com.
Metta, j

wanwaimeng's picture

Dear Josh,
I organised a talk in town Ipoh, Malaysia whereby this ex School teacher was sharing her experiences counseling women prisoners. The prison was not a high security prison, the prisoners there were on very light sentences and they leave within two years. Some of how she speaks to them is to make them realise about cause and effect especially for the women who have children she would emphasis the fact that we do negative actions it will have an impact on our loved ones and of course our kids. The results for her is that the women do not go back to crime/drugs anymore.

Just a few questions to you, hope you can share your views
a) do you use this method when working with people still on parole ?
b) do you agree with this method?
c) What other methods would you use in such a scenario?

Joshkorda1's picture

hi wanwaimeng
seeing cause and effect is, of course, core to the buddha's teaching, a central practice in yoniso manasikara, or appropriate attention. if its not broke, dont fix it!
i would add satisampujhanna, or bare attention to thoughts and compulsions as they arise, learning how to not act out on impulses (such as anger or fear). also, anapanasati, or learning how to use the breath to relax the mind.
give your friend, the teacher who worked with prisoners, my warm regards.
best, J

wanwaimeng's picture

Thank you Josh, I did tell here there are a growing amount of cases whereby prison are using meditation as a method to 'wake' up the prisoners and possibly as a rehab method as well, also a method to enable the prisoners to see what thy have done, and if they can see what they have done, they have a chance change.

wakanmonk's picture

Yes we are in fact using Mindfulness meditation and Body Scans to "wake up" recovering addicts and chronic pain clients here is Las Vegas. Remarkable results, especially with the pain clients. our is an abstinence based program. Check out Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention.

wtompepper's picture

It is important to understand that sati sampajanna does not mean “bare attention.” It refers to acquiring the full understanding or insight into all the causes and conditions which give rise to a particular perception or mental formation. The goal is to discover how to cultivate the positive ones and eliminate the negative ones, not simply to accept everything as it is.

The “bare attention” approach has been widely adopted in the addictions industry, with no success at all. Perhaps the Buddhist approach of sati sampajanna would have better success. If one is in prison or addicted, it is probably broke—and you can’t fix it until you know how it works.

I apologize, Josh, because I can see that my comments upset you; however, I feel that this is a matter of life and death for some people.

wanwaimeng's picture

Tom,
How do you move towards positive mental formations? If let sat you are already on a negative one.

In my tradition we use the nine round breathing meditation technique.

wtompepper's picture

I'm kind of hesitant to respond here, but briefly I would say that once you reach the point where you can have a negative mental formation without necessarily acting on it, then the goal isn't to move away from it, but to investigate its causes and conditions. When we see what gives rise to it, we can seek to avoid having it arise in the future.

kfcolle1's picture

Thank you, Josh....Inner wisdom guided me to join this community over a month ago. I'm so thankful...I had no idea the upheaval that was coming our way....we just brought my son for treatment last week. We have been on a roller coaster since. Relief....peace....fear....anger......deep and earth-shaking sadness have all come to visit my heart's doorstep. I am a therapist; I help others wade, sift and sort through all this messiness in life to begin the healing. I'm trying to allow myself to do the same. I'm trying desperately to set aside my therapist hat and meet my son in the midst of all these hungry ghosts inside of me and be real with him. I get scared when I hear him tell me that he's having difficulty getting past the first step. "I don't really think my life had become unmanageable, Mom." I found myself elucidating all the areas that I saw becoming unmanageable: work, relationships, school, finances, etc....then pulled back to, "Well, you're sorting it through, you'll arrive at the truth as you become honest with yourself and get feedback from your counselor, peers, etc. Really want to be there for him, but having trouble being there for myself, and being just mom and not therapist.

janlundy's picture

Josh,
Thank you. Those words don't seem quite adequate. :-) This series is a wonderful service to any of us who struggle so ... and also to better understand our loved ones with whom we've walk through addiction. There are many in my family. From my own experience with them (drugs, alcohol), what you say applies. It also applies to my own mind/behavior in terms of struggling with anxiety for many years. The practices you shared here helped me turn severe anxiety around so that I never had to medicate. Today, thankfully, because of the exact two practices you outline (paired with mindfulness), I rarely feel anxious. I love sharing these strategies now with others who experience anxiety too. They work. In fact, each of my loved ones who fell into addiction were anxious people first. Obviously, drugs or alcohol temporarily eased the anxiety, but then it would return. So to make these techniques known to others is so important. They are, literally, preventative medicine. They keep us "safe."

Thank you for your wonderful delivery, teaching and compassionate presence. Love what you've created here... With metta for you, for all. J

Joshkorda1's picture

Well, Jan, your words are more than adequate; they're a deeply felt testimony to the value and power of mindfulness based practice. Breath awareness, body scans, giving space to feelings, noting but not engaging with thoughts, acceptance and equanimity practices are just a few of the tools I've been given freely by Theravadans monks and other teachers, tools that I use daily to work with all my challenging experiences, including addiction, anxiety and depression.
Metta, j

myers_lloyd's picture

I volunteered in a meditation and yoga programme for four or five years at a prison for men in Canada- we can't seem anymore to keep the prison from being constantly "locked down".
When I watched this retreat with you, I found myself wishing I could somehow have looked more like you (also I'm a woman)-- the effect on the guys would have been so helpful I think. When they meditated I would go around and just place my hands on their shoulders, sort of like a safe hug some of them never got. Many seemed to relax; if I remained with some of them for more than a few seconds I could feel they would begin to shudder- beginning to cry.
It was a great opportunity and I wish I could have done more.Even though I had no tattoos I think they still knew I cared about them.
Prison was no answer. The programme helped I think.
Thanks for teaching and looking as you do, Josh. As fresh as a child.

Joshkorda1's picture

thank you myers lloyd, especially for sharing about your powerful experiences with the imprisoned. i'm sure they felt your compassion.
while i've taught meditation to paroled men at halfway houses, i don't believe my tattoos were really that much of a bridge to build trust; most were open to the practice, a few were suspicious, but i never got the feeling how i looked mattered.
best, j

raymondtovo's picture

why is it not streaming.Help?

TW77's picture

Weird timming on this...i'm almost a year sober. My thing is booze but i wasn't raging. In a sense that has it's own challenges because it wasn't so bad that it interferred with my daily life/relationships. But i was going insane. 35 and drinking since 13 or 14 and by the end it became daily and it's all i thought about. Led to really bad anxiety. I was never really able to put into words what booze did that was so bad - asides from the obvious. It wasn't an insane hangover, i called it a mental hangover. Josh was able to explain this really well in the first video. That it makes the underlying issues worse. that is simple and brilliant. i've talked to my wife about maybe allowing beer. i feel like i shouldn't, forgetting why i stopped.

Finding support was always a challenge since again, it wasn't a crazy problem. To me it was, but compaired to some, maybe, not as bad. I didn't need rehab or medical treatment...

This is perfect...i was really close to giving in since a few beer sounds fine. But at the same time, in a sense a year is nothing and i'll be right back where i started.

Josh you have an honest quality about yourself...instantly hooked on your message. You've got great teaching skills. Have you written a book on this subject? I'll google it ;)

Joshkorda1's picture

thanks so much for your kind words.
no, haven't written a book on the subject, as there are already so many terrific ones out there. One of the best on the subject is "The Craving Brain" by Dr. Ronald Ruden, who describes in detail the role that stress and dopamine circuits play in addiction. And while not a buddhist that i know of, he also discusses the role that meditation and stress reduction techniques play in recovery.
Also, from a buddhist perspective, Kevin Griffin's books are wonderful; as are Buddha's Brain and so many other books.
--j

Hanny2's picture

Hi tw77 and josh--there is a book called "the zen of recovery" by Mel Ash. Mr. Ash is a zen teacher, and in recovery. In the book, he tells his personal story and goes through the 12 steps from a Buddhist perspective. This might be a useful resource.

Royacyrus's picture

Thank you so much for your teaching. I grew up with an alcoholic father, and have a heroin addicted sister, and have done the drinking to forget, however, I'm lucky enough not to have become addicted to substances yet, I'm 58.
My form of addiction is obsessing on mental narratives that are a product of insecurities. I resurrect them repeatedly, and suffer and spread the suffering. These mental formations hurt my mind, body and other people. Although I'm aware of their fictitious nature and can intellectually negate their existence, they get lodged in my mind and body simultaneously and without me being able to intercept the consequential damage. I have been a meditator for decades, and look to facing this demon through sitting etc.
Thank you for recommending "Buddha's Brain", and will follow the rest of your teachings.
I'm sick and tired of manufacturing this form of suffering, there are sufficient others in life.
With metta,
roya

Joshkorda1's picture

thank you roya. i hope you fully understand that addiction to "obsessing on mental narratives" is universal, our run-of-the-mill, default programming. its not personal; there isn't a single person alive who doesn't struggle with such fabrications. a key is dropping the habit of trying to get rid of it. Resistance and frustration only makes it stronger (see the famous teaching on Sakka's anger eating demon). Instead, just acknowledge obsession, see it as mental agitation that happens in every mind, putting aside the "what's wrong with me that i'm so obsessed?" The goal is to give space to it without it grabbing hold of the entire mind and pulling us away from peace and presence.
If we view the arising of obsessive fear as a moment where we can stand back and watch how the consciousness wants to shrink around it, how the body becomes contracted, if we simply view it as a process that's not personal, and think "yes, this is worry happening" and keep the mind anchored in relaxing the breath and body so that we remain comfortable while the triggering thoughts arise, then, in that challenging experience, we can develop yoniso manasikara, or appropriate attention that leads to peace.
j

Royacyrus's picture

Thank you so much for your teaching. I grew up with an alcoholic father, and have a heroin addicted sister, and have done the drinking to forget, however, I'm lucky enough not to have become addicted to substances yet, I'm 58.
My form of addiction is obsessing on mental narratives that are a product of insecurities. I resurrect them repeatedly, and suffer and spread the suffering. These mental formations hurt my mind, body and other people. Although I'm aware of their fictitious nature and can intellectually negate their existence, they get lodged in my mind and body simultaneously and without me being able to intercept the consequential damage. I have been a meditator for decades, and look to facing this demon through sitting etc.
Thank you for recommending "Buddha's Brain", and will follow the rest of your teachings.
I'm sick and tired of manufacturing this form of suffering, there are sufficient others in life.
With metta,
roya

queenbeechelle's picture

Josh,
I have just recently quit smoking, and this retreat couldn't have come at a better time. I guess it's a situation of "When you are ready, a teacher will appear." I have tried and failed to give up cigarettes so many times before, but I'm using every resource I have available to me this time, including my knowledge on what I go through physically and emotionally when I've tried to quit in the past, and the confidence that I will not let those reactions to withdrawal stop me from giving up this addiction for good. I currently have the luxury of being able to shut myself in my apartment and take life 5 minutes at a time as I re-train myself how to live without cigarettes. I am very grateful for this since my moods are all over the place, and since all of my energy is currently going towards not smoking, I'm not sure I can stop myself from perceiving negatively and reacting aggressively to just about everything around me. I don't want to put that energy out into the world, so I will just stay inside, taking one step at a time, until I am able to play well with others. I already knew to put aside everything I didn't need to do, and to practice deep breathing, and that smoking was my way of dealing with stress, but this video was a great reminder of all that and more, including helping me to remember that I am not alone in this. Thank you, and I very much look forward to your next video.

Joshkorda1's picture

thnks queenbeechelle,
it should go without saying that quitting cigarrettes is very, very difficult (i write from personal experience and from helping numerous others through the ordeal).
while you have lots of experience in quitting to draw from, just a couple of notes to serve as reminders:
--the stress that triggers nicotine craving is triggered by the insula, which notes body tension. so calm, deep in breaths with long exhalations and body relaxation scans are essential.
--its important to reward yourself for your efforts. figure out how much money you spent on cigarrettes, and at the end of each week or month, treat yourself to something healthy you enjoy, spending the amount you saved. even if you're in hiding from the world, order in some healthy food.
--exercise, as in 30 minutes a day of getting your heartbeat racing, has been shown to reduce underlying stress.
--even if you prefer to avoid people, don't quit in a vacuum; find other people who are quitting, from nicotine anon or other groups, or online support groups.
--trying to quit cold turkey is generally a bad idea; i've read that over 94% of those who try to stop without nicotine-replacements will relapse eventually. for, while nicotine is what causes the addiction, nicotine in itself isn't dangerous when consumed in gum form, or even smokeless nicotine inhalers, so avail yourself of nicotine replacements if the struggle becomes too much. its easier to slowly diminish the use of the gum over a period of months, and it's a healthy solution.
--if you do stay inside a lot, purchase a full spectrum light; you'll need it to keep your sleep cycle in place and mitigate depression.
anyway, keep trying. its been 15 years since i last smoked, and its worth it.
j

queenbeechelle's picture

Thank you for the tips. I have a reward system in place that involves going to my favorite book store and cafe as well as other special "treats" to look forward too starting after my 1st week of being cigarette free. I don't diet but I do restrict myself from fast/junk food and stick to "clean eating" as much as possible. I am also a very strict vegetarian. Since I'm so restrictive in that area, I decided to let go a bit while I'm battling my cravings for cigarettes, and allow myself to eat whatever I want, which is something I never did in past attempts to quit smoking. Though I have had some junk food over the past couple days, I did leave home today to get groceries, and I was very surprised that I made a bee line for the produce section with intense cravings for bananas, apples, berries, etc. I have never had a "health food" craving in my life. Soda, chocolate, french fries - these are the cravings I'm more familiar with, but when I got to those foods at the store, I passed them up with barely a glance. I'm very happy about that, but I also think it's very strange and out of character.
I'm keeping in touch with friends who are acting as my cheering section and forgiving my crankiness, as well as reminding me of my many reasons for quitting every time I start to question why I'm putting myself through this.
I understand the relapse statistics of people who try to quit cold turkey, however, every time I have tried to quit in the past, I used nicotine replacements and found that made it so much easier for me to go back to smoking. I'm not really sure why. That being said, if I get to the point where I just can't handle it anymore, I will go straight to the store to buy the gum before I dare buy another pack of cigarettes.
As for the light - I'm lucky enough to live in an apartment with lots of windows that I make all the use out of that I can, not only so I can get some sunlight, but also to save on electricity. I'm also taking 5HTP and a great multi-vitamin along with extra B vitamins to help combat my mood swings.

pomorain's picture

I gave up finally about twenty years ago after decades of trying and relapsing. I think it helped that on the last occasion I really, really wanted to give up. The amazing thing is that I haven't the faintest glimmer of desire for a cigarette now, never. So keep trying. You will get there.

andrea.breathe's picture

What an amazing morning I am having. I read something that spoke to me about not being tempted to pursue complicated and advanced spiritual practices, which may be unachievable. The teaching went on to say that it is much more useful to stay with simple but powerful practices, deepening my understanding without seeking to increase my knowledge. Within minutes I watched the teaching posted here. I love it when useful stuff lines up like that, it helps someone as densely muffled in my own mind chatter to actually hear it. I think that one of my own addictions and clever little ways of avoiding genuinely helping myself is to over-intellectualize, to complicate. The message I have got from today's learning is to stop reading and wittering mentally, and to return to simple breathing and body scanning.
I think the posts suggesting that relieving stress through Dharma is treating the symptoms and not the cause are interesting; I would add that people, being individuals, find their own ways back from addiction. Exploring causes can be a valuable part of the journey, but they are not the end of it. Blockages come in many different and persistent ways, and naming them, while useful for some, can be a distraction for others. Maybe noticing the breath and the body are how we live fully in the present, as tools to help us move away from mind and it's faulty messages. Simple, effective relief from self imposed pressure.

wtompepper and Josh..... please don't stop dancing!

lindaldavis's picture

When my practice became "stale," ( i.e., my effort and interest dwindled because i felt "stuck" in basic awareness practices) a few years back, i decided maybe some new practices from a different tradition would be the way to go. After all, I told myself, after all these years, shouldn't you be "further along" - yada-yada.....Plus I was sure I needed to be part of an in-person Sangha since i live in a rural area. It was a bit of a humbling experience to find that many of those practices didn't really make sense to me or fit for me. This after 3 years of efforting and trying to fit in. Am I glad I did it, grueling India-trip and all? YES! It turned out to be one of my most valuable experiences to date. Greediness, impatience and doubt stood out clearly. I got it. My understanding and gratitude grew and I regained both my sense of humor and a deep appreciation for the simple, basic practices I've come home to. Thank you for the topic....perfect for me today.

shin's picture

just re simple vs. complicated practices, as a recovering philosophy junky I find it refreshing to hear that one of Joseph Goldstein's teachers (Muhindra I believe) once said that just paying complete direct attention to the uprightness of the body is a practice that 'goes all the way.' And one of Ajahn Thanissaro's teachers (Jotiko Furan perhaps?) said
"the breath will take you all the way you know!"

straight ahead

andrea.breathe's picture

Yes, I do think it's clear that video 1 is the beginning of this retreat, this learning. I am looking forward to hearing more. I also read your article in the magazine, and am enjoying your frankness almost as much as your sense of humor. I am still struggling with my own addictions, and feel genuine hope arising from this retreat. I heard you talk about stress/dukkah, and something clicked in my head. I have heard and read many times that addiction as self medication is a response to pain, to suffering. But hearing it put simply and rooted in neuroscience as well as in Dharma made sense of this in a new way to me. I dont know if an old message delivered in a new way helps to make it concrete, or if it is just the right time for me to understand it better. Anyway, I believe that I can begin to see that by the time that I am reaching for a drink, or similar, that the behaviour began a lot further back than that immediate response. Also, that it is spectacularly unhelpful in long term relief of suffering.

Thanks again. I'm learning to change the way I deal with suffering and stress well before the crisis point, the reaching for bottled temporary relief. It may not sound like much, but it's a massive breakthrough for me.

Joshkorda1's picture

Thx for watching. Agreed: As The Buddha taught in the numbered discourses, some people benefit from in analysis of causes via the dhamma, others find it distracting. I'm definitely the former, and I teach what I've experienced.
I do hope it's clear that video #1 was simply introducing the foundation or ground that the three following videos will build upon and deliver an array of tools.
Oh, and I'll never stop dancing.

satoribill's picture

Josh

Thanks for the inspiring talk. I agree with your comments regarding AA and they can isolate our other addictions. I also agree that AA tends to be GOD centered - the HP high-power concept is more relevant to more people. I also agree with your comments regarding our attachments to semantics (stress) but I believe the same could be said about the GOD, HP concept as well.
I came from an alcoholic family and had a lot of prejudices against AA. When I finally started to become honest about my addiction to alcohol and drugs, I looked for AA alternatives and Kevin Griffin's "One Breath at a Time" convinced me of the value of working a 12-step program. I am convinced AA provides the broadest support network out there - I have attended fantastic, inspiring meetings all over the world. I think our addictive natures also work against us in our recovery as we can be dismissive of the areas of AA that with disagree with and this creates stress. I would also add that the types of AA meetings and groups vary widely. If you do not feel comfortable in a group or meeting, find another group or meeting. I am fortunate to have found a home group very open and tolerant of our "problems besides alcohol". I look forward to the continued talks and I will seek out your talks if I am ever in NYC. Best.

Joshkorda1's picture

thanks satori bill,
thank you for your thoughtful comments.
yes, i concur, AA is definitely the broadest support network for alcoholism, and there are many types of AA meetings in most large urban centers.
i'd add that, in large cities "do not feel comfortable? find another meeting..." generally applies, but that's not found everywhere. in my experience, the variety and openness to differing views found at meetings can diminish greatly when travelling to regions with smaller populations across the country. I've been to locations where HP = Jesus is hammered home, and there aren't other meetings to choose from.
thankfully, as they grow in popularity, spiritual recovery groups, buddhist and otherwise, will only offer more resources and tools to those in recovery—and not limited to any form of addiction. in my experience, AA + spiritual communities work powerfully in tandem.
do stop by if you pass through NY! http://www.dharmapunxnyc.com/
best,

satoribill's picture

Well put. I live in the Boston area -and usually travel to major metropolitan cities. I am fortunate in options available. I also believe for me, AA is not enough and a strong spiritual network outside of AA is essential. I am over 1 year sober but I find those in recovery with the most wisdom, have this powerful combination nailed.

sallyotter's picture

I have been sober in AA some years. Dealt with the God concept by slowly developing my on idea, The Force. It worked for me. When people go on about "God" now, I can understand it's all individual concepts. The 12 Steps are amazing when put to use. But something was still missing. Then, in a small library in central Texas, I picked up a book by Pema Chodron. It was like I had found home. Learning HOW to "relieve me of the bondage of self". That's what was missing for me before. Now Buddhism and sobriety are who I am, not what I do.

AMY.PENNE's picture

Thank you Josh. Your centered and humble approach to the teachings are tremendously beneficial and I am looking forward to this series of teachings. I am a food/spending-addicted person. My addiction is socially acceptable and even socially promoted. I need these teachings. I need body scans. I need to breathe. Thank you for your compassionate teaching.

Joshkorda1's picture

Thank you, Amy. I'm gratified that the talks are providing useful information to people who work with different forms of behavioral dependence. I don't view alcohol/drug inclinations as unique or separate from other forms of addiction.
metta, j

Sjohnson's picture

Thanks Josh, lovely talk. Honest and humble.

cbass's picture

As the buddhist mother of an active drug addict, I thank you for this retreat and will greatly open my mind to your experience. May you be happy; may you be safe.

Joshkorda1's picture

Thank you for your kind comment.
Metta, j

mpacquino's picture

Hi Josh...Imagine my joy at finding your teachings the first time I ever logged in to Tricycle :) I am and will always be a "recovering" addict, primarily alchoholic, with all others in tow. I had 12 years of not drinking, but not what I know now, as "sobriety". I went out again and in the process almost killed myself. I attribute this to never having found, at the deepest level, a spiritual way of life. I am an incest "survivor" who now considers herself "Thriver" and am back in my Twelve Step Program as a practicing Buddhist, having had a tremendously difficult time with the traditional Christian emphasis that abounded in my previous meetings. My father was my abuser, not my savior. I am now 62 and have had hospitalizations, over 30 years of Psychotherapy and now 4 years back. I want to encourage everybody on this site to keep the "flame" alive by spiritual practice, and an understanding of the biochemistry of mental illness and addiction. I was a slave to my amygdala, depression, severe PTSD and my ill -conceived attempts at managing those states. Seek therapeutic help, as well as support of groups of people who are successfully handling whatever difficulties you are facing in your life and put down your "self will" and remain open to the compassion and wisdom of those who practice and teach this way of life. I used to hate the slogans, but now appreciate their deep wisdom. "It works if you work it". The Buddha's teachings have helped me understand that all limits are self imposed and freedom and emptiness is available to us all. Thank you Josh. I am beyond grateful and eagerly await your subsequent teachings. All happiness lies in giving back and you are helping us all on the way.

Joshkorda1's picture

I'm honored. Your persistence is inspiring. I hope you find something of value in the other talks.
Best, j

wanwaimeng's picture

I think all of us are addicted to suffering hence we stay in samsara. But thank you for sharing your experiences about addiction some practical methods on how to overcome them.

I recently saw videos of Vipassana being taught in American prisons hope teachers like yourself can share insights and teach prisoners to meditate :)

Joshkorda1's picture

thanks for viewing, and totally agree on how useful mindfulness and meditation is to those who are incarcerated. luckily, over the years, i've been able to introduce meditaiton to quite a number of parolled men living at halfway houses. its very rewarding work.
j