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Escaping the Karma of Addiction, an article in Insight Journal, Summer 2008


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About the Presenter

What is salient in my story is first that I was a heroin addict for about twenty years. In most people’s minds that conjures images of street life, sleeping behind dumpsters and the like. In my case, I was, until the very end, pretty successful. I ran companies, supervised employees, directed HIV prevention services at a large metropolitan public health department, and was a lobbyist at a state legislature -all the while sneaking around the corner to get high. I finally crashed spectacularly and found myself alone and living on the streets of Denver. My family intervened and I awoke one morning in a treatment center in Southern California.

While there I began looking into various forms of spirituality, and since the great, important things in our lives have a tendency to find us, I encountered, while visiting a Pure Land Buddhist temple in Anaheim, a group of Zen monastics who in the space of an afternoon taught me a very truncated version of the Dhamma.

It all clicked and I knew I’d found what I had been looking for, or perhaps what had been looking for me. Again, what is salient is the central concept of suffering and how its root is craving, clinging. For a heroin addict in withdrawal, craving takes on a powerful, unpleasant, and seemingly unending physical manifestation. For that individual Dhamma becomes second nature.

Since that time I have been drawn more to the Terevadan tradition, and as a result got a chance to work on the training in Spiritual Self Schema Therapy and then to train hundreds of therapists, in the U.S. and Canada, in its implementation. I currently teach a number of workshops around the country for federal, state and local agencies, and am also creating some new training material on spiritual practices as they relate to the clinical setting.

-PS

For more on 3-S therapy, see www.3-s.us .

 

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