Vipassana—a form of meditation in which practitioners train themselves to observe bodily sensations without reacting to them—has a growing reputation for helping addicts. “I nearly walked out three times during my first course,” Alex, a former heroin user from England, tells The Fix.
“It was so painful to observe all the negativity I had stored away inside me.” But the results were impressive: “Cravings do not effect me like they used to. If I have a craving, I just observe it and it passes away.”
Vipassana teaches the mind not to react to the emotions and thoughts that result in harmful behavior; adherents claim that with enough practice it’s possible to become permanently free of all negative behaviors—addiction included.