Buddhist Recovery Network - Inaugural Conference

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Board Members

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In Memoriam




Cannon Beach Meeting

2009 Inaugural Conference

BRN Newsletters


“Recovery from Addiction in a Buddhist Context”

The best place to start is at the beginning...

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Post Conference...



More Information on the Program

Thanks and Acknowledgements

The BRN: The Story So Far

How the 12 Steps got to Santikaro

Vince Cullen and the Thamkrabok Monastery

International Expansion of the BRN

Miya Ando

The Venues


Conference Brochure

The full 2009 Inaugural Conference brochure is now available for download . You may also wish to read the various parts of the brochure on line below.


More Information on the Program

Friday, October 9

Keynote: What is Buddhist Recovery? - Kevin Griffin
Kevin will describe his personal experience of bringing Buddhism together with 12-step recovery. He’ll talk about the evolving Buddhist Recovery movement, its forms, its challenges and its potential.

Breakout: Addiction and the Neuroscience of Mindfulness - Dr. Kathy Lustyk & Prof. G. Alan Marlatt
Integrating the expertise of professionals trained in clinical psychology and behavioral neuroscience, this breakout session provides an overview of the overlapping neural systems implicated in addiction and mindfulness practices. Our presentation of functional neuro anatomy will be set in clinical contexts and geared towards non-neuroscientists. Our focus will be on the neural anatomical and chemical systems afected by mindfulness that are also altered by addiction. We will conclude our presentation with a dialogue addressing how mindfulness-based therapies may beneft addicts by acting on the brain systems discussed while incorporating questions and comments from breakout session attendees.

Breakout: The Buddhist Path of Recovery - Noah Levine
In this workshop Noah will explore the possibilities of a non-12-step model of recovery. Taking the core teachings of the Buddha, the 4 Noble Truths, and adopting them to a path that ends the sufering of addiction. Noah is very interested in feedback from the larger community on his initial thoughts along these lines. Please join him for this open dialogue about recovery from a Buddhist perspective.

Keynote: Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) - Prof. G. Alan Marlatt with Dr Kathy Lustyk
This talk will provide an overview of MBRP in the treatment of addictive behavior problems. By providing mindfulness skills, clients report that they are better equipped to cope with urges and cravings. MBRP consists of eight weekly group therapy sessions, and is patterned after similar mindfulness programs to reduce relapse in the treatment of depression, and to help clients cope with chronic pain and stress. Because the meditation practices utilized in the program are based on Buddhist teachings, MBRP may appeal to clients who are seeking an alternative spiritual approach to recovery.

Breakout: Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) Workshop - Dr Ann Bolger
The MBRP program is specifcally created for clients in recovery from substance use disorders and is designed to help prevent future relapse. In this experiential workshop, participants will be introduced to several components of MBRP, such as mindfulness meditation practices, as well as relapse prevention coping strategies. By experimenting with the practices and strategies in this workshop, it is hoped the participant will experience the concept of moment-to-moment nonjudgmental awareness and its impact on cravings, triggers, physical sensations, thoughts, and feelings. It is the intention of the instructor that each participant begins to learn -or enhance- skills to manage the unique stresses encountered on the path of recovery with increased awareness and acceptance, with less reactivity.

Breakout: Facilitating Buddhist Recovery Groups - cross-tradition panel - Laura Burges, Damon Gay, Rev. Alex Holt & Kevin Griffin
This panel discussion explores the wide variety of programs being created to support people in recovery using a Buddhist framework. Issues such as confdentiality, anonymity, variations to the traditional 12-step models, and publicity will be discussed. What are ways to begin a group from scratch and what are the group guidelines? How can the use of dharma teachings be translated into Western support settings and are people welcome who come from other than Buddhist traditions? These and other questions will be explored along with a question and answer period.

Keynote: Recovery as Crucible - Trudy Goodman
The challenge for the recovering individual to surrender to befriending their sufering is the crucible for emotional and spiritual growth. Even in sobriety, the recovering person can find themselves getting on the merry-go-round of one addiction or another rather than sit with the normal human suffering that comes with being alive. The disease is smart and insidious, but with commitment and rigorous honesty the recovering person can embrace the burn of spiritual growth. Buddhist practice teaches the Recovering person how to lean in to experience as a crucible. The reward is transforming suffering into insight, wisdom, relief and joy.


Saturday, October 10

Keynote: Addiction To Self - Santikaro
Of all the things we use and abuse to numb, escape, and bufer our fears, hurts, shame, and other sufferings, self is the most basic and central. Born from ignorance and craving, producing identity and further becoming, clinging to me and mine holds the tangles of sufering together. This talk will refect on how these core Buddhist teachings are relevant to understanding other modes of addiction and how teaching on letting go may help us understand the path of recovery. Ironically, the self we grasp at is conceptual and illusory. From this perspective, recovery, ultimately, is the same as liberation.

Breakout: Food, Substance & Recovery - Pablo Das
All behavior is a reaction or response to the conditions in one’s body and mind. Dependency can be understood as a conditioned or habitual response to uncomfortable internal experience. Using objective observation of the conditions that inform behavior we can end identifcation with those conditions and come into a wiser relationship to them. We will talk about deconstructing cravings, cultivating non-reactivity and from this position of clarity and freedom how we can then begin to work with the variables in one’s life which inform the uncomfortable experiences in the body/mind in the first place. We will also talk about how an understanding of fundamental Buddhist teachings can be useful in sobriety.

Breakout: Uncertainty and Mindfulness; Lessons from OCD - Jeff Bell
Author and mental health advocate Jeff Bell knows a thing or two about living with uncertainty. As someone who has battled with, and recovered from, the very worst of obsessive compulsive disorder (a.k.a. The Doubting Disease), Bell has learned firsthand how debilitating uncertainty can be and just what it takes to live efectively with it. In this seminar, Jeff shares the many parallels he has found between traditional OCD “exposure therapy” and Buddhist mindfulness practices. Drawing on the wisdom of such Buddhist writers at Pema Chödrön and Sylvia Boorstein, Jeff offers practical, “field-tested” strategies for facing, and thriving amidst, the uncertainties of day-to-day life.

Keynote: Mindfulness & Recovery - Thich Dao Quang
Tich Dao Quang (‘Thay’) has spent the last nine years teaching the techniques of mindfulness to those sufering from addiction. Although there are many techniques that can be used to help people stay sober, Thay has had continued success counseling his substance abuse clients, as well as mental health patients and prisoners in state facilities. “I have seen many clients regain self-confidence, self-esteem and self-awareness using these techniques.’ He will share with us his experiences teaching mindfulness for recovery and his successes, both with clients and with the counselors and therapists who also beneft from their use.


Saturday, October 10

Breakout: Addictive Culture - Santikaro
Recovery from consumerism, the dominant religion in this country and elsewhere, is crucial for our survival. Booze, drugs, gambling, and junk food are epidemic in the culture of the USA; vast industries profit from them with government collusion. That this situation is manifestly rotten to the core is obscured by our addiction to consumerism, in which our struggle for meaningful life has been derailed by the doodads and distraction peddled by immoral profteering. Addiction to war is also part of the mix. All of the above serve the pursuit of money, a symbolic value run amok, highly addictive in itself. Looking deeper still, we find the fragility of our isolated, insecure selves. This panel will touch on as many aspects of our addictive culture as time allows.

Breakout: Anatomy of Emotional Recovery for the Sober Buddhist Family - Workshop with Trudy Goodman and Dr. Beverly Berg
The Buddha’s Four Foundations of Mindfulness are a systemic path for attaining emotional sobriety for the recovering family. When a recovering couple moves into second stage recovery, they must face and resolve challenging emotional issues. We’ll use a family systems approach to define stepping-stones for integrating the four foundations of mindfulness with the recovering path to foster emotional maturity in sober couples. This, in turn, enhances stability and warmth in families and liberation of the suffering caused by self-involved ego states specific to the addict/alcoholic. This workshop includes discussion, an experiential exercise and shared anecdotes by both presenters.

Keynote: The God Dialogue - Noah Levine, Kevin Griffin & others
Buddhism is non-theistic, 12-Step Recovery is open-minded-theism. This presents a challenge for integrating Buddhism with 12-Step recovery philosophy. Kevin has given great thought to this dilemma and has come up with new ways to defne God, that can work for the Buddhist minded recovering person. Noah opts for a more rejectionist stance, feeling that the whole concept of God is a waste of time for Buddhists. Liz will bring her deep commitment and faith in God to the table to share her insights and experiences with us. This panel should prove to be educational and entertaining (watching Kevin and Noah bicker about God).

Sunday October 11

Where Does the Buddhist Recovery Network Go From Here? - Open group discussion with Board members
This is your chance to have input into the BRN’s agenda. Where should we be focusing our energies? How might we improve what we’re doing? How might you get further involved? How can we tap into further support? It is recommended that you read ‘The Story So Far’ in this Conference Program prior to the session.


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