We are all 'in recovery' from Craving, Aversion and Confusion.... we are all 'in recovery' from Greed, Hatred and Delusion.
There are no miracle cures for addiction - recovery is a process - and it is different for everyone.
It can take many years to completely overcome the craving for intoxication, the craving for pleasure; the aversion to pain; the craving to become someone/something, the craving for oblivion.
What you get at places like Wat Thamkrabok and New Life Foundation is the foundation of a recovery. The rest is up to you. If you look after your Sajja commitment - then your Sajja will look after you.
Perhaps you have read the Hungry Ghost booklet. Personally, I made a vow at my kitchen table in England never to drink again... that was 16-years ago. (You do not need to fly half-way around the world to vomit in a gutter to get clean... you can do that at home!).
By way of some insight into the Buddhist path of recovery, here is a short quote from the early Buddhist texts:
"Furthermore, abandoning the use of intoxicants, the disciple of the noble ones abstains from taking intoxicants. In doing so, he gives freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings. In giving freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, freedom from oppression to limitless numbers of beings, he gains a share in limitless freedom from danger, freedom from animosity, and freedom from oppression.
[ Buddha: Abhisanda Sutta: Rewards AN:8.39 ]
"A layman who has chosen to practice this Dhamma should not indulge in the drinking of intoxicants. He should not drink them nor encourage others to do so; realising that it leads to madness. Through intoxication foolish people perform evil deeds and cause other heedless people to do likewise. He should avoid intoxication, this occasion for demerit, which stupefies the mind, and is the pleasure of foolish people."
[ Buddha : Dhammika Sutta: Dhammika SN:2.14 ]
I can truly say that by keeping the Sajja vow (to abandon intoxicants) and living in harmony - as best as I am able - with the Buddhist Five Precepts which includes abstaining from intoxicants, I experience an everyday Nibbana; an everyday liberation. Every day I have freedom from cravings; freedom from conflict, freedom from blame, freedom from guilt; freedom from shame and freedom from regret... that is a lot of freedom.
So there is much to smile about on any day of the week. Everyday Nibbana, every day!
For any friends who are struggling with abstinence or recovery - I offer the following resources :
- Documentary :Thamkrabok: The Monastery of the Opium Pipe - In the jungles of Thailand lies a monastery devoted to helping drug addicts kick their habit. the methods used, which include drinking an herbal mixture that induces vomiting and taking a Sajja, vow of action, are controversial and unique. Monks use the Buddhist philosophy of the Middle Way, Karma, medication, work, and steam paths to help addicts from around the world reclaim their lives. The film features addicts, the monks, the former abbot to tell this fascinating story of suffering and redemption [59-minutes].
- Documentory : Facing the Dragon - An observational documentary of Sarah & Cassie - two heroin and crack addicts who attempted to detox in radical treatment programme at Thamkrabok Monastery in Thailand [58-minutes].
- Documentory : An interview with the respected teacher Thich Nhat Hanh and (at about 43 minutes in) the inspiring documentary 'The Dhamma Brothers' [124-minutes]. No one is beyond redemption!
- Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) : Essential guided meditations for recovery on the 'MindfulRP.com' website (scroll to the bottom of the page).
- Sit-and-Share Starter Kit : Resources for starting your own Sit-and-Share Buddhist Recovery Meeting.
Wishing you everyday Nibbana, every day.