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Escaping the Karma of Addiction, an article in Insight Journal, Summer 2008
Table of Contents
- Non-harming as the first step
- A better way to feel good
- Karma also means the freedom to let go
- Better than drugs: compassion
- About the Presenter
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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.
For more on 3-S therapy, see www.3-s.us .