The Wisdom of Addiction: Turning Poison into Medicine

This talk normalizes the multifaceted and prevalent phenomenon of addiction. I will examine how cultural and individual alienation from the self plays an important role in the foundation for compulsive and addictive processes. A brief introduction to the work of Heinz Kohut’s Theory of Self-Psychology will be given as a framework for understanding the psychological basis for addictions. Pema Chödron’s “Four Rs” of recognize, relax, refrain, and repeat will be covered as a way to cultivate and apply mindful awareness and compassion to the addictive process. Key points within Buddhist Tantra will also be explored so as to find the medicine within the very poison of the addictive process. These will include looking at the five fundamental qualities of awareness which can serve as either obstacles or aids to growth depending on how we relate to them.