anonymous Asks ...
My sister has had drug and alcohol problems for a very long time. Now she is working with a Buddhist meditation teacher instead of going to NA and AA meetings like she has done in the past. Is this reasonable? I have no great expectations that she will manage to stay clean forever, relapse is part of the disease, but I do want her to work at her recovery responsibly so that she can avoid relapse for as long as possible. Is Buddhist meditation as good as AA/NA for maintaining recovery?
Jennifer Hamilton Says ...
I recommend an eclectic approach that appeals to your sister and her self-awareness of what she truly needs. The Buddhist meditation is a Mindfulness based approach that helps you become very aware of your current physical sensations, thoughts (and that you are not your thoughts or controlled by your thoughts) and keeping you in the present moment. It is a very helpful part of recovery. People are triggered internally and externally, recognizing this and learning not to act on it can be a key in not returning to use. The 12 steps are extremely needed to become cognitively and "affectively" (I made that one up) aware so that the damage done due to use is acknowledged and addressed. Self-help meetings also provide fellowship so that there are people who "get it" and will "call you on your stuff". It would be great if she thought of it as a both/and not an either/or. She could benefit from combining several approaches, including professional help, diet and exercise, meditation, 12 steps and meetings and taking a daily inventory. I hope this helps! Sorry it took me so long; my computer was on the fritz!