Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sex, Drugs and Buddhism

Buddhism and Addiction

Buddhists like to talk about attachment, and how it messes with our peace of mind and ability to see clearly. 

Addiction is attachment gone crazy.  The addict can never really pay attention or be at peace. 

It can be sex or eating or cocaine or work or even extreme sports. Anything that gets me high can become an addiction.

While I'm high, my suffering is blunted or can even seem to disappear.  Problem is, the high never lasts, and most methods of  getting high cause troubles of their own.

The addiction cycle can be triggered by any kind of stress or pain. To dull the pain, I'll get high (acting out), then sink into shame. The remorse leads to resolutions and commitments, and things can go fine until I'm in pain again and it starts all over.

Buddhist philosophy can help at every phase of the addition cycle.  Stress and pain can be eased through regular meditation and the practice of compassion, reducing the craving for the high. 

Shame and depression can be less a problem when the addict begins to learn self-awareness and self-care. New commitments can be bolstered by healthy reliance on others for support.