July 5, 2021 | 57 minutes, 08 seconds
In This Article
Podcast Show Notes
In this episode of the Ayurveda Meets Modern Science podcast, host John Douillard, DC, CAP, talks with Dr. Adi Jaffe, founder of IGNTD Recovery, a program that helps people get to the root cause of addiction and make important life changes, and the best-selling author of The Abstinence Myth. (You can also find Jaffe on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.)
Adi’s Addiction Journey
For Jaffe, the road of addiction begun at a fairly young age. As a teen, he found comfort and confidence in drinking. Flash forward to college and Jaffe began experimenting with meth, as a study aid to help him with his ADHD.
This strategy to focus turned into a dependency. He was living a life surrounded by, affected by, and controlled by drugs that turned him into a “typical drug addict.”
Jaffe’s journey with rehab was rocky, as it did not provide him with the necessary resources to overcome his addiction and made him feel branded as an addict. After moving in and out of sobriety and addiction over and over again, Jaffe had an ah-hah moment. He realized that only he could make things better for himself, not anyone else. He went on to earn a PhD in psychology from UCLA.
See also Overcoming Unwanted Habits and Painful Emotions
Addiction and Ayurveda
For someone going through the ups and downs of addiction, they must be able to find the road to recovery that works for them. For some, this is traditional programs, for others it is alternative solutions, such as IGNTD. Through IGNTD, Jaffe intertwines Ayurvedic practices, such as pranayama, with implementing healthy habit in order to identifying and work with the root cause of addiction.
The Ayurvedic and Vedic philosophy of dhanurveda, or transformation, is related to the strength it takes to start and finish the journey with addiction. One must first ground themselves in their true calling and self before they can take transformational action.
See also The Purusharthas: Ayurveda’s Road Map for Finding the Meaning of Life
Tools for Turning Around Addiction
Many times addiction is not crystal clear. Often, more than not, drinking, drugs, and sex, to name a few, are not the problem, but are instead masking a problem. The process to overcoming an addiction is never easy, but with the right tools it is possible.
Contrary to popular belief, some tools that work well for one human, don’t work at all for another. Each person has their own toolbox for a reason! As you find tools that are helpful to you, keep them, and vice versa, as you encounter tools that aren’t for you, discard them.
Studies have shown that getting people to do something, instead of stop something, is much more effective. Individuals with addiction can struggle with perfectionism and self-talk, and repeated failure causes them to give up on trying to recover.
A few tools that have worked for Jaffe: changing the negative self-talk to positive affirmations and repeating the affirmations aloud; performing random acts of kindness and finding purpose in the little things; and breathing exercises and meditations.
It is best to not blame the person with the addiction, label them, or shame them, as it can cause stigma and guilt. Instead, helping the individual see a brighter present and future can work wonders. By showing those facing addiction that they matter and the things they do matter, they too will believe it and want to better themselves.
See also New Science on Sleep: Why at Least 7 Hours and a Regular Routine are Critical
Additional Resources for Shame and Addiction
- IGNTD HERO Program
- Psychology Today: What is Confirmation Bias?
- New York Times: The Science of Helping Out
- New York Times: Finding Purpose for a Good Life, but also a Healthy One
4 thoughts on “Podcast Episode 113: Ayurveda, Shame, and Addiction with Dr. Adi Jaffe”
I feel like Dr. Jaffee has confused humility with shame. He also had a super supportive family. I feel like he has taken so many of the positive aspects of AA and created a program that is about him healing you and charging for it. AA is about you healing yourself with the help of whatever your higher power is for you. I have 26 years of sobriety. AA is such an amazing program. I wish he had taken his insights from neuropsychology and used them to refresh what is a phenomenal life saving program that is based in community and separate from capitalism. I tried so hard to listen with an open heart. I finished feeling really disappointed.
Wow. Such a refreshing interview, it really helped me look at how I can be of service in a different way, and how to help those with addiction. Thank you!
Thanks, Dr. D. I found the interview helpful in some ways. And I wanted to offer a pointer to another mindfulness-based recovery program (that I help facilitate) which is similar in some ways and has additional tools I find profoundly helpful: https://kilobycenter.info/ The Kiloby Center for Recovery. This program uses an amazing form of Inquiry to help unwind the core beliefs and drivers around addictive behaviors.
Being in recovery myself, I thought Dr. Adi Jaffe’s advice was dangerous. I appreciate the fact that he doesn’t want anyone to feel shamed and that might deter people from getting help, but to say that you can drink if you have other tools to help you deal with trauma and emotions is not the way to go. I am a Trauma, 12 Step Recovery Yoga instructor. Most addictions have their roots in trauma. And it is necessary to have people find ways, both mentally and physically to help cope with those emotions that drive people to self soothe and numb. I am fully aware of my trauma, I have plenty of tools that help me stay sober and self regulate, however, if I drink, my neural pathways will light up, and those as we say, samskaras are activated. There is no physical way for me to stop. I have known people who have died by trying an experiment of seeing if they can handle a drink. What brought him down to his bottom was Meth. If he can handle Meth with no problems than fantastic for him, but you have other doctors who say that once that dopamine is triggered it may cause relapses that someone cannot return from. I am not able to pick up a drink or cigarette because I will go right back to where I was. The whole aspect of the 12 Step Recovery Program is to have a connection with something greater than yourself. It is to surrender and to seek the help you need. Do we say stop drinking, if you are an alcoholic, yes, we do. We also say that you don’t have to call yourself an alcoholic. The only requirement is the desire to stop drinking. We would say that to anyone who has a physical reaction to the drug of their choice. But it is simply not to “Stop” or Shame anyone. I like that he gives tools for people to work through why they were using behavior or drugs to help deal with life. I like that he doesn’t shame people. But please don’t say, once you start and have other tools that you are safe to use the drug or behavior of your choice freely or carefully. I am sorry but, in my opinion, and being sober for several years now, and having friends in the addiction field, very very dangerous advice.