Eight Step Recovery

Eight Step Recovery is an alternative recovery program to the 12 step program of Alcoholic Anonymous. It uses the Buddhist teachings to overcome addiction. Eight Step Recovery, cofounded by Dr, Valerie Mason-John M.A (hon.doc) and Dr. Paramabandhu Groves Ph.D., is a set of mindfulness teachings outlining a suggested course of action for recovery from addiction, stinking thinking, negative mental states, and compulsive and obsessive behaviours.

Find an Eight Step Recovery Meeting near you.

Can you be in a 12 step program and benefit from the 8 step program?

Yes. The eight steps can be seen as the 11th step of any 12 step program, where people seek “….through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”  Many people struggle with the 11th step in their 12 step recovery program, and when people have worked all 8 steps in the Eight Step Recovery program it has benefited many and complimented their 12 step recovery.

Do you have to be a Buddhist?

No. Eight Step Recovery is open to everyone. Don’t let the Buddhist teachings get in the way of your recovery. The Buddha was not a Buddhist. The word Buddha means awake or awakened one. Therefore no matter what your religion or spiritual tradition is, this program can be integrated into your belief system and or life style.

In this video, Valerie Mason-John discusses how she came to write the book Eight Step Recovery.

This video includes testimonials from participants in the Eight Step Recovery program.

Eight Step Recovery

Eight Step Recovery: Using the Buddha’s Teachings to Overcome Addiction
by Valerie Mason-John, Paramabandhu Groves

Winner of the 2014 USA Best Book Award and the 2015 International Book Award in the Self-Help: Motivational category. This new edition includes a foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, advice on how to run an Eight Step Recovery meeting, and insight on how to teach a Mindfulness Based Addiction Recovery (MBAR) program, including teacher’s notes and handouts.

The Buddha was in recovery. Taking this bold statement as a starting point, this wonderful book shows how we are all addicted to aspects of life and can all benefit from training our minds and hearts to be free of the tyranny of compulsion.

“Give yourself over day by day, thought by thought, moment by moment to this reliable and profound form of nurturance and healing.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn, from the Preface

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The Eight Steps

Click on each tab to see the step

Step 1

Accepting that this human life will bring suffering

“In Step One, we accept that this human life will bring suffering. We learn to face our pain. We do this by noticing our pain with mindfulness. We begin to notice our pain with a calm mind. We learn to stop, pause, and slow down.

We occupy the breath and the body and become aware of what is going on in the mind. We also reflect on our precious life, that death is inevitable, actions have consequences, and unsatisfactoriness is part of everyday life.”

Step 2

Seeing how we create extra suffering in our lives

“In Step Two, we realize that we create more suffering in our lives. Every time we move away from pain, we multiply the suffering in our lives. We need to learn to sit with the pain calmly. We begin to do this by identifying the things that trigger us, and the high-risk situations that may bring about a relapse.

We must also remember that our thoughts are not fact. We do not have to believe our thinking. We can create space whenever we feel at risk of reaching for our addiction, or overwhelmed by the intense feelings of craving, by practicing the three-minute breathing space, AGE. In this space we can learn to do something different.

Step 3

Recognizing impermanence shows us that our suffering can end

In Step Three, we embrace the fact that there is an end to suffering, that everything in our lives is impermanent, including our addictions, compulsive and obsessive behaviors.

We accept that change is possible. We begin to pay attention to small changes in our lives. We do this by practicing one of the meditative exercises to help us slow down.

Step 4

Being willing to step onto the path of recovery, and discover freedom

In Step Four, we need to be willing to step onto the path of recovery and connect to a vision that is greater than our addiction or compulsive behaviors. We need to begin to identify things we want more than our addiction. We can begin to discover this new freedom by cultivating loving-kindness in our lives.

It is like blowing onto coals: after a while, a flame arises. We must keep on diligently practicing loving-kindness toward ourselves, so that one day we will choose the path that leads to recovery instead of the path that leads to our addiction.

Step 5

Transforming our speech, actions, and livelihood

In Step Five, we learn to transform our speech, actions, and livelihood. With an attitude of kindness, we review our past actions. We acknowledge them and their impact on us and others. We make amends, and plan to do something different. We take our GIFTS to move forward in our recovery and commit to living our lives more in line with the five training principles.

We acknowledge the consequences of our addictions and have healthy compassionate regret. If we make a promise, we make a plan of action before promising to let go. And, if we are able, we admit to another human being the exact nature of our actions and give ourselves forgiveness.

Step 6

Placing positive values at the center of our lives

“In Step Six, we place positive values at the center of our lives, values that will support us in our recovery. We recognize that our addiction is a false refuge and cannot bring about true happiness and contentment. We go for refuge to a community that offers the ideal of recovery, sobriety, and abstinence.”

Step 7

Making every effort to stay on the path of recovery

“In Step Seven, we make every effort to stay on the path of recovery. We are likely to have to feel the unbearable pain of not turning to our addiction. We ride the harrowing waves of recovery with calm, and know that, every time we surf the pain of recovery, the waves will become calmer.

We surf the waves with calm by preventing unhelpful states of mind from arising, eradicating them when they do arise, and cultivating and maintaining helpful states of mind. We get to know our minds by identifying our dominant hindrances. And we breathe.”

Step 8

Helping others to share the benefits I have gained

In Step Eight, we learn to help others from a place of kindness and share our recovery with others. We continue to cultivate our five new senses of faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, and wisdom. We don’t teach recovery: we radiate recovery. We live our lives as people who have stepped onto the path of recovery and freedom from their addictions.

MINDFULNESS Y LAS ADICCIONES. Recuperación en Ocho Pasos

Autores: Valarie Mason-John y Paramabandhu Groves
Formato: 15 x 24 cm.
Páginas: 256
Tapa: rústica con solapas
Isbn (Siglantana): 9978-84-943408-40
Isbn (Ilusbooks): 978-84-16574-00-1

“A partir de las enseñanzas de BUDA, este maravilloso libro muestra de qué manera podemos beneficiar a los adictos mediante un entrenamiento mental y emocional que les libere de la tiranía de la compulsión, al mismo tiempo que muestra la estructura de la adicción. El programa se fundamenta en una gran variedad de enseñanzas, a la vez prácticas y profundas. A través de este libro, se ofrece un regalo de inestimable valor: la oportunidad de recuperar la mente para hallar la libertad.”

Vidyamala Burch, fundadora y codirectora de Breathworks, autora de Mindfulnnes y Salud.

Amparándose en las estrategias del mindfulness, este libro consigue potenciar la estabilidad emocional, reduciéndose así, los riesgos adictivos con el objetivo final de recuperar la libertad.

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