I first heard about Recovery Dharma during one of my many stints in rehab. It wasn’t until a couple years later, however, that it would become my primary recovery program. As someone who has always struggled with 12 step programs, being labeled as a “chronic relapser” was even more discouraging because I was not only struggling on the road to sobriety… I was someone who didn’t have a map. My drug use always fueled my unhealthy desire to isolate but I knew, rationally, that if I were to get and stay sober I needed to find my community.

It’s hard to put into words how I felt when I started reading the Recovery Dharma text. I liken it, comparatively, to what those around me felt when they read the Big Book. I felt like it was written for me, I felt understood. Most importantly, I felt like I found something that aligned with my personal philosophies and ethics. I knew this was the program that would not only save my life but help me see that I deserved an existence I could be proud of. This notion was once radical and preposterous to me.

A quintessential component of Recovery Dharma is meditation, and my first five months of sobriety really laid the groundwork for my daily practice. I took it more seriously than I had taken anything in a long time. I treated it like a job. I meditated three times a day, every single day. As someone who once hated meditation this was extremely challenging at first. Gradually, however, I started having revelations, moments of clarity, genuine peace, and overwhelming happiness during my meditation sessions. It has changed my life in innumerable ways. I wouldn’t say I am a different person; I am simply the person I was always capable of being but could not access until I was able to do the work. Recovery Dharma has allowed me to work on myself in ways I never thought I deserved. It’s given me true tranquility and understanding.

What I have learned in Recovery Dharma has far surpassed issues around my substance abuse. My drug use was a mere symptom of my vast malfunctioning internal world. Today my life is so bright and filled with love. Even in the dark moments and the inevitable suffering I can access a nonreactive acceptance. I now recognize that life is something I will never control, only something I can choose how to react to. I also have a community – a “sangha.” My wise friends who walk this path with me have changed my perspective of connection and shown me that I am, indeed, not an island. It’s been said that addiction thrives in isolation. Having community is the antidote to such sadness.

Being an addict already elicits a feeling of being “other than”, and for so long this feeling was amplified by my inability to find a connection in traditional recovery realms. I now have people I feel a true closeness to… people whom I trust wholeheartedly. Finding Recovery Dharma has given me the option of lasting sobriety and has truly given me hope when I was on the verge of giving up completely. To say I am grateful to this program is an understatement.

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