RE: Seeking in-person retreats during COVID

M, modified 3 Months ago.

Seeking in-person retreats during COVID

Posts: 22 Join Date: 3/25/20 Recent Posts
Does anyone know of any in-person retreats being held in the United States now or within the next few months? Preferably near-ish to Colorado, if possible. 

I have a friend who just experienced the death of a loved one and has also struggled with addiction. She has done conventional rehab programs, but they seem very lacking from what she's told me. She would love to do a 10-day Goenka vipassana course (I've done a few and have told her about them), but most centers look like they're closed at the moment. She's grieving, and I think it would be very beneficial for her to be in a safe, structured environment to practice meditation. 
A. Dietrich Ringle, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Seeking in-person retreats during COVID

Posts: 685 Join Date: 12/4/11 Recent Posts
Hope she's ok!
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Siavash, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Seeking in-person retreats during COVID

Posts: 1079 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
If she is still in recovery for her addiction (meaning it's only months and not years that she is not using), she should be very careful with doing any intensive practice. It can be the best setup for starting substances (or any other addiction she have had) again. I would approach intensive practice very very gradually. Assume that there are signs of danger all over the place if you are thinking about any kind of intensive practice.
M, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Seeking in-person retreats during COVID

Posts: 22 Join Date: 3/25/20 Recent Posts
Could you please explain why you think this?

She's struggled with alcoholism. She hasn't every struggled with drinking daily - it's that she drinks impulsively every few months when she's in distress. Curious if this changes your perspective. 

Part of my confusion is that I think of vipassana as one of the strongest ways of undercutting attachment, which is what addiction is. 
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Siavash, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Seeking in-person retreats during COVID

Posts: 1079 Join Date: 5/5/19 Recent Posts
She's struggled with alcoholism. She hasn't every struggled with drinking daily - it's that she drinks impulsively every few months when she's in distress. Curious if this changes your perspective. 


Yes it changes.
That is not addiction. Definition: You have a problem if you don't do it. If you don't do it for a few months and no problem, then not an addiction.

It's because if there is an addiction, and if you do intensive practice, difficult emotional stuff may come up, and then you may want find a relief, and your habitual relief was that object of addiction. Often reason hides in the back when emotion comes.

I should add this too, for someone that does it compulsively once in a while, it's easy to turn into an addiction, so they should be very careful.
M, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Seeking in-person retreats during COVID

Posts: 22 Join Date: 3/25/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for clarifying what you meant. 
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Zachary, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Seeking in-person retreats during COVID

Posts: 196 Join Date: 3/16/18 Recent Posts
M:
Does anyone know of any in-person retreats being held in the United States now or within the next few months? Preferably near-ish to Colorado, if possible. 

I have a friend who just experienced the death of a loved one and has also struggled with addiction. She has done conventional rehab programs, but they seem very lacking from what she's told me. She would love to do a 10-day Goenka vipassana course (I've done a few and have told her about them), but most centers look like they're closed at the moment. She's grieving, and I think it would be very beneficial for her to be in a safe, structured environment to practice meditation. 

Without knowing more about this person, it's hard to say whether a long-term, intensive meditation retreat would be appropriate at this time for someone who is currently grieving and has a history of substance abuse issues. Further, based off reading many reports here and elsewhere, it seems that the Goenka centers are generally run in a way where negative and problematic effects are more prevalent than other mainstream centers in North America. 

While it's certainly the case that some meditators on retreat do undergo profound psychological healing, metabolize past trauma and get insight into addictive behavior, it's also the case that those who bring a lot of psychological baggage into retreat situations can run into trouble and make things much worse for themselves. 

Ultimately, I think it's something your friend should discuss with any therapists, healthcare providers or meditation teachers in their life and determine if it makes sense for them. It's difficult for strangers over the internet to make these sorts of judgements but I wanted to state the usual caveats.

And as always, meditation, especially long retreats, are no substitute for conventional therapy, healing modalities and a healthy lifestyle. 

Hope this is helpful, all the best for you and your friend. 
M, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Seeking in-person retreats during COVID

Posts: 22 Join Date: 3/25/20 Recent Posts
Thanks for your input. She's going to inpatient treatment, so I'll suggest that she bring it up with the therapists there. 

On a slightly separate note, I'm curious about what you said about meditation not being a substitute for conventional therapies and healing modalities. I've tried conventional therapy (and am still doing it), but I've gotten so much more out of meditation than any more conventional paths. Are there therapies you know of that are comparable to meditation? If so, I'd like to try them. 
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Zachary, modified 3 Months ago.

RE: Seeking in-person retreats during COVID

Posts: 196 Join Date: 3/16/18 Recent Posts
M:
Thanks for your input. She's going to inpatient treatment, so I'll suggest that she bring it up with the therapists there. 

On a slightly separate note, I'm curious about what you said about meditation not being a substitute for conventional therapies and healing modalities. I've tried conventional therapy (and am still doing it), but I've gotten so much more out of meditation than any more conventional paths. Are there therapies you know of that are comparable to meditation? If so, I'd like to try them. 


If someone is in inpatient treatment currently, then a long-term retreat, especially at a Goenka center, would not be helpful for them at this time. I'm not sure about Goenka specifically, but I know most centers screen for this sort of thing and ask those attending the retreat to answer questions honestly pertaining to any history with drug abuse and mental health issues. 

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