Alcohol Addiction Thich Nhat Hanh
Even with our fast paced lifestyles, it is possible to look at a complex subject like alcohol addiction from
the vantage point of Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk.
Drug and Alcohol Addiction and Mindful Living
Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh is a Buddhist monk, scholar, poet and a human rights activist.
Thich Nhat Hanh teaches the art of "mindful living," namely a deep awareness of what is happening both within
and around us at the present moment.
While drug or alcohol addiction can be viewed as a way of trying to run away from what is happening in life by
trying to forget one's problems and responsibilities, mindful living (mindfulness) is the opposite.
More specifically, mindful living enhances one's ability to cope with life by teaching a person how to be
present in the moment with whatever is happening without becoming overwhelmed or distressed by it.
This type of "mindful living" is best accomplished by the five mindfulness trainings.
The 5 Mindfulness Trainings
To help others better cope with life, Thich Nhat Hanh articulated the 5 mindfulness trainings.
The First Mindfulness Training
This first mindfulness training focuses on a commitment against killing. That is, according to this training
step, a person should not kill, should not let others kill, and should not support any act of killing in the world,
either in one's thinking or in their way of life.
The Second Mindfulness Training
The second mindfulness training step centers on developing "loving kindness and learning ways to work for the
well-being of people, animals, plants and minerals." This principle includes respecting the property of others and
refraining from stealing.
The Third Mindfulness Training
The third mindfulness training step concentrates on a commitment "to cultivating responsibility and learning
ways to protect the safety and integrity of individuals, couples, families and society."
A main component of this third training step concerns involvement in sexual relations only when love and a
long-term commitment are present.
The Fourth Mindfulness Training
The fourth mindfulness training step focuses on "cultivating loving speech and deep listening in order to bring
joy and happiness to others and relieve others of their suffering."
A main component of this principle is speaking truthfully, refraining from spreading uncertain
news, and refusing to criticise or condemn things that are not based on fact.
The Fifth Mindfulness Training
The fifth mindfulness training step centers on "cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself,
my family and my society by practising mindful eating, drinking and consuming."
A main component of this fifth principle is a determination to refrain from ingesting alcohol or any other
Also part of this training step is the active avoidance of various activities that contain "poisons" such as
certain books, films, magazines, conversations, and TV programs.
According to Thich Nhat Hanh, damaging one's body or consciousness with these toxins is betraying one's
ancestors, one's parents, one's society, and future generations.
And finally, Thich Nhat Han states that a proper diet is critical for "self-transformation and for the
transformation of society."
Conclusion: Alcohol Addiction - Thich Nhat Hanh
Obviously, the 5 Mindfulness Trainings by Thich Nhat Hanh are not only helpful guidelines for
people who may be suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, but they also comprise a philosophy of
life and living that can be beneficial for everyone.