TAKING CARE OF THE SELF: RECOVERY AND ADDICTION
As part of Mahamudra Centre’s work to develop a Buddhist-based program for the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction, Ven. Choyni Taylor recently presented a series of workshops for counselors as well as those in recovery, based on her new book Enough!: A Buddhist Approach to Finding Release from Addictive Patterns. The workshops offered practical step by step methods to finding freedom from addiction and compulsion and the negative thoughts that fuel them. Bryce H. who has been involved with MMC’s addiction program had this to say …
“The Buddhist contribution to the field of drug and alcohol counseling has generally been centered on using mindfulness to foster client awareness of feelings and cravings. However, research also points to the role of complex ‘information highways’ involved with the attention, behavioral and motivational centers of the brain being engaged in the abusive or dependent use of substances. These centers reward us for behavior that helps us survive (drinking water, eating food, having sex, raising our children, etc.). These are engaged and rewarded by the neurotransmitter dopamine. Drugs that can make you dependent will also activate these centers and provide that neurotransmitter to guide you to the reward of the drug. The best way to undo this is to learn to build new pathways and new coping responses. To learn and develop new pathways, the brain must practice. This can be done through visualization.
“Ven. Chonyi’s workshops were very helpful. She elucidated and designed a series of meditations/visualizations that guide the client to rework many of their dysfunctional pathways. With her background in psychotherapy, Venerable also worked with the emotional background to these events.
“All of the counselors (and I spoke to most of them) who attended remarked how useful it was to learn concrete ways of dealing with these embedded information pathways. In addition, Venerable showed us how to design visualizations directly with the client and how to integrate the Buddhist approach to wisdom and compassion for both the client and ourselves. Brendon, a social worker, said of the teachings: “Venerable taught us really useful ways to design meditations that engender wisdom and compassion for ourselves and for our clients and help us both to rework redundant emotional patterning that could lead to suffering.”
Those wanting to work on their addictive patterns were similarly impressed and found Ven. Chonyi’s workshops practical and transformative.
Turn to page 49 of the January-March 2011 issue to read an excerpt from Enough!: A Buddhist Approach to Finding Release from Addictive Patterns by Ven. Chonyi Taylor.Tags: addiction, mahamudra centre, recovery