Mindfulness and Addiction

by Peter Carlson on May 12, 2016

During this talk, the topic of “process addiction” was reviewed, qualifying addiction with 5 criteria: 1) often activated or contemplated, 2) increases in frequency and intensity over time, 3) becomes a lifestyle organizing function, 4) acted upon and defended despite the negative consequences, and 5) discomfort and confusion occurs when access is denied or prevented.  This process can apply to many actions that could also be benign or even healthy, with criteria 4 being the determining factor.

This was related to the first and second Noble Truths, that is distress and the craving and clinging that causes distress.  Addictive behaviors were characterized as maladaptive ways to cope with distress that don’t address the underlying patterns of feeling, thinking and behavior that Buddhist practices and principles address.  The serenity and clarity that emerges from dedicated mindfulness of breathing and lovingkindness practices was compared to the 11th step of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, which is daily meditation and prayer for conscious contact with a higher power.

Peter referred to an article in The Lion’s Roar magazine (formerly Shambala Sun), written by Noah Levine, about attempts to create a parallel system to the 12 steps for those folks inclined towards Buddhist practice.  The article is entitled “A Refuge From Addiction”.  Here is the article posted on this site:  A Refuge from Addiction

Here are the notes prepared for this talk:  MINDFULNESS AND ADDICTIONS

Next week’s topic will be Mindfulness And Relationships

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