Buddhism can play a significant role in one’s approach to winning the battle against drug and alcohol addiction and substance abuse as an affliction in general if one wants. It is a legitimate approach to addiction treatment, especially if one is steadily and consistently abusing drugs and alcohol while still trying to maintain a spiritual and enlightened perspective. Most Buddhist treatment programs incorporate a good deal of overlap between Buddhist psychology and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In fact, Dr. Alan Beck, the founder of cognitive behavioral therapy officially recognized CBT therapy as working quite well in tandem with Buddhist spiritual rehabilitation.

If there’s one thing that can be said to be true for anyone and everyone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol it is that it is quite common for people who get caught up in addiction to talk about a feeling of, “Being disconnected from their life”. From a Buddhist perspective, this is sometimes referred to as a ‘hole in the soul’, and it is a hole that needs to be filled with spiritual strength and resolve to stay away from substance abuse in the future. In fact, the Buddha himself believed that this feeling of being at odds with the universe occurred due to three characteristics of existence that were all in their own way very much so not ideal. These were: impermanence, non-self, and suffering.

Applying Spiritual Rehabilitation to a Practical, Real World Setting

There is a lot to be said for a Buddhist approach to drug and alcohol addiction and substance abuse relief in general. Buddhist rehab approaches are truly quite beneficial and, because of their secular nature as a focus on the philosophy of Buddhism and not the religion of Buddhism, this approach can be engaged upon by all and can be benefited from by all.

The Buddhist approach is all about using spiritual means, meditation, counseling, therapy, and physically holistic treatment to engage the client in inserting rightness into his or her life where wrongness once thrived. Some of the key points that a Buddhist rehab will try to institute are:

  • Right understanding – you learn about the nature of addiction in your life
  • Right intention – you commit to sober living for good
  • Right mindfulness – during your stay at a Buddhist rehab center you learn to use mindfulness and CBT so you are less of a prisoner to your thoughts and emotions and feelings
  • Right concentration – practices like mindfulness improve your focus so you enjoy clearer thinking and a logical attitude
  • Right effort – you make sobriety your number one priority in life for good
  • Right view – with the help of therapy you begin to let go of beliefs and opinions that have been holding you back in life (e.g. low self-esteem, self-degradation, etc.)
  • Right livelihood – if the way you make your living is triggering your addictive behavior (e.g. you deal drugs to others) you may need to make some career changes in your life
  • Right action – you commit to regularly doing the things you need to do to maintain a strong sobriety for the rest of your life

The Statistics on Addiction: Why Approaches like Buddhist Treatment are so Key

We have studied endlessly and examined the addiction crisis in the nation, not only to formulate our own treatment programs, but to garner a better understanding of the sheer prevalence of addiction troubles in the nation to be able to pass them on to you. To aide us and others in our quest to inform the populace of the crisis that is addiction in the nation today, many different governmental and non-profit organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Trust for American Health (TAH), have all worked together diligently and continuously for several years to codify and understand this problem.

The goal and the aim here was to provide such statistical data and cruel yet very, very true evidence on this very real crisis and problem for all to see and bear witness to so that something can be done about it. The idea is that a heightened understanding of this issue would equate to a greater ability on the parts of those affected by it to be able to do something about it. For example:

  • Those most vulnerable to problem drinking are of course young adults between the ages of 18 and 29, while those least susceptible are 65 years of age or older, (though this demographic is just now starting to see an increase in drinking problems. The young adults are particularly susceptible to binge drinking, (five or more drinks in two hours for men, four or more drinks in two hours for women). In fact, binge drinking accounts for a lot more than half of the alcohol industry’s $155 billion market, and more than 75% of the beer industry’s market alarmingly. In 2002 for example, U.S. alcoholism statistics showed that 2.6 million binge drinkers were just between the ages of 12 and 17.
  • Sadly, alcoholism and alcohol abuse can lead to dangerous health problems and, in some cases, even death too. U.S. alcohol statistics, for example, reveal that approximately a full 50,000 cases of alcohol overdose are reported each and every year. Moreover, in the year of 2009, an estimated 30.2 million people of the age of 12 or older reported driving under the influence of alcohol at least once in the past year alone. In addition, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), reported a full 14,406 alcoholic liver disease deaths and 23,199 alcohol-induced deaths (excluding accidents and homicides) in the year of 2007.
  • Not only is alcoholism dangerous and potentially fatal for alcoholics, it’s also costly to society at large too and it has an effect on all of us. Recent surveys indicate that non-alcoholic members of families with an alcoholic use ten times as much sick leave as families without alcoholics (often because they have to take care of the alcoholic). Additionally, 80% of these family members report an impaired ability to perform at work as a result of living with an alcohol abuser or alcoholic, (often because of stress or other problems). Furthermore, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) are the leading preventable cause of birth defects in the U.S., affecting as many as 40,000 babies per year and costing more than $5.4 billion each year all in all.

Buddhist Address of Addiction Presenting Itself as a Valid Choice

Substance abuse and addiction has for some time now been creating very negative effects all across the nation. These are issues that have steadily and gradually worsened as the years have gone by and they truly have shown no sign of getting any better any time soon.

With a Buddhist approach to drug and alcohol addiction, the real world crisis that is addiction can finally be resolved once and for all. Addiction is not something that needs to be creating such a damaging effect on the nation any longer than is absolutely necessary. In fact, this problem really could stop and stop within a couple of years if enough effort was put onto the attempts to handle this once and for all. Addiction is harmful and damaging to say the least, but it doesn’t have to be. With rehab approaches like the Buddhist track, those who are addicted can find recovery soon enough.

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