Synopses & Reviews
Author Darren Littlejohn has been there and back, and presents a complimentary guide for recovery to the traditional twelve-step program, out of his own struggles and successes through the study of Zen and Tibetan Buddhism.
The face of addiction and alcoholism is a face that many have seen before -- it may be a celebrity, a colleague, or even a family member. And though the 12-step program by itself can often bring initial success, many addicts find themselves relapsing back into old ways and old patterns, or replacing one addiction with another.
Working with the traditional 12-Step philosophy, the author first shares his own life path, and how he came to find the spiritual solace that has greatly enhanced his life in recovery. Then, he details out how his work integrating Buddhism into the traditional twelve-step programs validates both aspects of the recovery process. While being careful not to present himself as a Tibetan lama or Zen master, the author shows how each step -- such as admitting there is a problem, seeking help, engaging in a thorough self-examination, making amends for harm done, and helping other drug addicts who want to recover -- fits into the Bodhisattva path. This integration makes Buddhism accessible for addicts, and the 12 Steps understandable for Buddhists who may otherwise be at a loss to help those in need.
The 12-Step Buddhist is designed to be a complimentary practice to the traditional 12-step journey, not a replacement. While traditional twelve-step programs help addicts become sober by removing the drug of choice and providing a spiritual path, they rarely delve deep into what causes people to suffer in the first place. The integration of Buddhism with the traditional process provides the wisdom and meditations that can help addicts truly find a deep, spiritual liberation from all causes and conditions of suffering -- for good.
"According to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, almost 10 percent of people aged 12 or older needed treatment for drug or alcohol problems in 2006. That astonishing number suggests a need for books such as this, written by recovering drug and alcohol addict Littlejohn, who is also a student of Buddhism. The author, who has also studied psychology and research methods, has most definitely been there. Using the Buddhist idea of attachment as a key insight into addiction, Littlejohn correlates the 12 steps of recovery programs with Buddhist ideas and practices, drawing from both Zen and Tibetan traditions. This approach can especially benefit those who may have trouble with more conventional understandings of a Judeo-Christian God as a Higher Power, since 12-step programs depend on acceptance of such a power. Some of Littlejohn's practical exercises-certain Tibetan visualizations, for example-can be abstruse, and an appended glossary could provide more help with Buddhism, issues that more rigorous editing could have addressed. But the author has guts and clarity; this book is a welcome beacon on the troubling ocean of addiction." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The 12-Step Buddhist is one of those rare books that transcends genres by seamlessly integrating the 12-step approach, Buddhist principles, and a compelling personal struggle with addiction and a quest for spiritual awakening." -- Donald Altman, M.A., LPC, author of Living Kindness and Meal by Meal
"The 12-Step Buddhist is a unique synthesis of the traditional 12-Step model and the liberating wisdom of Dharma....This personal presentation of the tools Littlejohn used to find his own liberation from addiction is certainly never boring, and well worth reading." -- Mandala Magazine
"If the 12-Step program leads to recovery, Buddhist practice and philosophy can provide the spiritual underpinnings needed to stabilize that recovery. [Darren Littlejohn's] interpretation of the 12 Steps as seen through the lens of this wisdom tradition is fascinating and useful. A very practical and inspired guide." -- Susan Piver, author of How Not to Be Afraid of Your Own Life
"This book is written not based on theory or assumption, but by a person who actually went through the experience of recovery and from that experience has seen the benefits of this system as a way to help other people who are facing the same circumstances. This will be an important contribution to the literature of Buddhism and of recovery in the West." -- Yangsi Rinpoche, Tibetan Buddhist teacher and president of Maitripa Institute
Darren Littlejohn is not a Tibetan Lama or a Zen master; he's a recovering addict who has been to hell and back. In this refreshing look at the true reasons behind destructive, addictive behavior, Littlejohn combines Buddhist wisdom with the traditional twelve-step program, presenting a guidebook to inner peace and spiritual sobriety that is aimed at those for whom the traditional approach does not work.
Working within the 12-step philosophy, The 12-Step Buddhist incorporates exercises, meditations, and inner dialogues that validate all aspects of the recovery process. Darren Littlejohn’s approach makes Buddhism accessible for addicts, and the twelve steps understandable to anyone. The 12-Step Buddhist also addresses why addicts struggle with relapses, and how they can address the deepest aspects of themselves to find healing and wholeness.
The 12-Step Buddhist is designed to be a complimentary practice to the traditional 12-step journey by providing wisdom and meditations that can help addicts truly find a deep, spiritual liberation from all causes and conditions of suffering for good.
About the Author
Darren Littlejohn dropped out of school in the eighth grade in order to “pursue drugs and alcohol as a full-time endeavor.” After a long, rough road to sobriety, he passed his high school proficiency exam and went on to earn an AA in Behavior Science from San Jose City College, a BA in Psychology from California State University, Long Beach, and has completed all coursework but the final theses for the MA Pre-Doctoral Research Program, also at the Long Beach campus of California State University.
In his personal journey, he studied Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, later integrating all of his life experience, beliefs, credentials and true passion into his work. Already practicing what he preaches, he is a dedicated, enthusiastic promoter and speaker who is eager to see others helped out of their pits of despair and self-destruction.