Since this is my first time speaking at the BRN Academy, I thought I would share some stories about my personal journey with you. I've been in recovery from drugs and alcohol since 1987, and there have been plenty of ups and downs along the way. Finding the practice of insight meditation and the Buddha's path of liberation gave me a new sense of possibility in my life after years of being clean and sober in 12 step meetings.
I finally learned how to be more self-reliant. As the Buddha instructed in one sutta: "Dwell with yourselves as your own island, with yourselves as your own refuge, with no other refuge; dwell with the Dhamma as your island, with the Dhamma as your refuge, with no other refuge..." Of course, Sangha (community) is vitally important, too.