Addiction is a complicated disease. There is no magic pill or surgery that can stop the cravings and rectify the addict. Drugs make their webs inside the mind; their pattern unique to an individual.
What works for one person’s recovery isn’t guaranteed to work for somebody else. When my life was crumbling around me from my drug’s constant hunger, I wanted out. I was tired of the grasp it held on every aspect of my life. I wanted to be done, and I needed it gone now. If there was a pill that could take it all away, I would have paid for it in a heartbeat. If the addiction could dissolve with a shot, I would have stood in line for hours to receive it. There was no easy option, and so I took the long journey to recovery. It was a hard, slow, and bumpy ride, but a very spiritual one. When the disease is of the mind and body, spiritual health can play an important role in recovery.
When I ask people about a body’s spirit, they immediately relate it to religion. While religion can be a driving force in the health of the spirit, it is not necessary. A spirit is a spirit, just as a body is a body, no matter what religion is involved. Taking care of your spirit and using it for strength during recovery can be your ticket out of addiction. Buddhist monks know just what the spirit needs, and here are seven things you can learn from Buddhist Monks about recovery.
1. Buddhism is the Path of Spiritual Development
While many religions focus on teaching doctrine, Buddhists rely on experience. It is experiencing spiritual moments that strengthen the body, mind, and soul. As someone takes the path to grow spiritually, they begin to see the purpose of life outside of physical things and materialistic aspirations.
Meditation has been a part of my life since the moment I decided to stop using drugs. It helps me connect with my spirit and gives my mind control of my body. Buddhist monks believe that taking time throughout the day to meditate will strengthen the body, end suffering, and enlighten the mind.
3. The Truth of Suffering
This is the first of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. If you were to go to a physician, he would begin by diagnosing the illness. The first truth is your suffering or illness; my suffering was my addiction. Buddhists embrace the suffering that comes from life and remember that it is always temporary.
4. The Truth of the Cause of Suffering
The second truth is similar to when the physician diagnoses what is causing the illness; drugs cause addiction. It teaches that suffering is caused by a desire or thirst for something to make ourselves happy. It is this second truth of Buddhism that I love the most. Throughout my life I have sought for things to create happiness and feelings of being “alive.” Drugs made me feel incredible things, but they were only temporary and always, always the cause of my suffering. Happiness is a choice, not something you buy, drink, touch, or see.
5. The Truth of the End of Suffering
This is the hope for a cure from your addiction. Buddhist monks teach that with practice, patience, and diligent work we can stop cravings and end the suffering.
6. The Truth of the Path that Frees us from Suffering
Once an illness is diagnosed, a physician will then give you a prescription to cure it. A monk will prescribe something a little different; he prescribes living the Eightfold Path.
7. Noble Eightfold Path
The Eightfold Path is the way we should all live our lives every single day. The Buddhist monks know the power to end suffering comes with the right beliefs, aspirations, speech, conduct, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and meditational attainment. By following these eight elements during recovery, you will be given the strength to overcome addiction.
By Michelle Conway
Photo by: John Fowler (Flickr)