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A Loving Tribute to the Work of Professor G. Alan Marlatt (1941-2011)

Professor G. Alan MarlattProfessor G. Alan Marlatt

 

The Board of the Buddhist Recovery Network learned in March that Professor G. Alan Marlatt had passed away on March 14th near Seattle. Alan was a Director and co-founder of the Buddhist Recovery Network. He was a clinical and academic psychologist, a Professor at The University of Washington, and Director of the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University. He was also a Buddhist who practiced in the Shambhala tradition.

Alan was a pioneer in the work of relapse prevention and more recently integrated mindfulness meditation techniques with cognitive behavioral relapse prevention skills to help people identify and cope with common triggers for relapse. He won many prestigious awards for his work, such as the Jellinek Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to knowledge in the field of alcohol studies, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Innovators in Combating Substance Abuse Award, the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Psychological Association and Lifetime Achievement awards from the Research Society on Alcoholism and the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

Alan chose the location for the inaugural meeting to discuss the establishment of the Buddhist Recovery Network. This meeting took place in January 2008 at Cannon Beach in Oregon. He represented the Network in 2008 at the 5th UK/European Symposium on Addictive Disorders in London, and was a keynote presenter at the Network’s first Conference in October 2009 at the Against The Stream Meditation Center in Los Angeles. He attended Board meetings where he could, given his extensive international travels. He undertook this work without any fee or reimbursement of expenses by the BRN. He showed that the BRN was keen to associate itself with leading research and evidence-based treatment approaches. He invited others to participate in the work of the BRN, such as Dr Ann Bolger and Timothy O’Brien (Amara) — both Directors and important contributors to the work of the Network. He also invited Dr M. Kathleen Lustyk to present at the October 2009 Conference.

Alan’s gentle, modest presence in BRN meetings made one forget that he was a giant in his field, with a Curriculum Vitae spanning 54 pages, and a publication record than includes having authored 23 books, and more than 300 articles and book chapters.

Alan was keen to contribute to the 2011 Conference from May 19 to May 22 at the Against The Stream Meditation Center in Los Angeles. The Board of the BRN has decided to use his Conference session as a tribute and celebration of Alan’s work, attempting to summarize his achievement for delegates, and allow people to share the way he has influenced their work and their life.

The Board of the BRN would also like to pass on our deepest condolences to Alan’s family, who have also been a part of the BRN community. His wife Kathryn Moore travelled to both Cannon Beach and Los Angeles with Alan to attend BRN meetings, and has been a sharp and intelligent contributor to our work. His son Christopher Alan (Kit) Marlatt travelled with his wife Ashley to the Cannon Beach meeting, where they filmed the proceedings. Kit also video recorded the October 2009 Conference, creating an important archival record for the BRN.

Alan touched the lives of many people within our BRN community, brought kindness and compassion to addiction treatment, and has left an important legacy. Our 2011 Conference will continue this remembrance.

The Board of the Buddhist Recovery Network

 

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