Essay on Addiction: Suffering, acceptance, and change

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Carl Rogers stated, “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change (see http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/c/carl_rogers.html). Many modern approaches to addiction recovery utilize a dialectical model to examine the change process. Third wave behavioral therapies such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), along with mindfulness meditation (MM), and the 12 Step Recovery model of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) use a dialectic based on acceptance of what is and change to what can be. These modern methods make use of the practices of Buddhism that may be effective treatments for addiction recovery. Moreover, when regarding addiction as a form of attachment as…show more content…
These elements give an understanding to the external, internal and interpersonal suffering addiction causes as a form of attachment to the pleasurable, and avoidance of pain. The concepts of attachment and avoidance are central to Buddhist thought. Moreover, they are the cause of suffering. Boeree (1997) noted suffering comes from attachment to experiences and from the avoidance of them as well. We see in the word, anicca- impermanence, that all objects and perceptions are momentary; therefore, attachment to them will lead to suffering. Attachment in Sanskrit relates to two words, “trishna” [ironically] means “thirst” or “desire” and “devesha” translates to avoidance. Attachment, as a means of fulfilling a desire, or as a means of depriving oneself goes against what the Buddha called, “The Middle Path” (Buddha Dharma Education Association, 2011). Therefore, The Middle Path forms a principle of non- attachment to extremes. When one considers addiction as an idea of suffering and attachment, the Buddhist concepts of desire and escape become clear. Chen (2010) contended that the “secondary suffering” addiction brings is multidimensional, affecting many aspects of a person’s life. Chen (2010) explained this concept of suffering in the conceptual model of suffering as motivation for addiction treatment. This model puts forth the idea that drug use is a coping mechanism for some type of “primary suffering”- negative mental states or circumstances
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