I have a lot of experience with addiction, both personal and professionally.

In my job, I am in contact with many drug and alcohol addiction treatment workers. And I've been thinking about recommending integrating buddhist ideas and, perhaps more importantly, buddhist practice in drug and alcohol treatment programs. I think that introducing buddhism, both on a philosophical level and as practice could be a great help for a lot of addicts. This has to be done properly, with competent teachers and it has to be voluntary.

Compare buddhism to AA/NA ideology (just a few examples):

AA/NA etc: externalized power... Buddhism: internalized power

AA/NA etc: dogmatic... Buddhism: non dogmatic

AA/NA etc: "you can get sober, but you won't get rid of the disease"... Buddhism: "you can be free/get rid of the disease of suffering"

Does anybody heard of addiction treatment facilities trying to incorporate buddhism in their treatment?


2 Answers 2


There's http://5th-precept.org/ (I don't know of them; but their web site has some literature).


Yes, there are addiction treatment facilities incorporating mindfulness meditation into thereapy. Judson Brewer at Mass General in Boston incorporated various aspects of Buddhism into his research on addiction thereapy. The main idea involves self-regulation of attention. He uses the acronym RAIN to describe the process:


NIH has one of his presentations about RAIN and smoking cessation available on their website. It is a little technical.

Also, UC Berkeley's Greater Good Institute has a detailed page about mindfulness and addictions which is more consumer oriented.

Mindfulness is becoming more mainstream in many countries. Psychology Today's therapist search page can help one find a local psychologists who is trained in the art of mindfulness.

Insurance companies also provide a list of their providers who specialize in particular fields. They may list health care professionals who specialize in Mindfulness/Addictions.

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