Cultivating Compassion in Addiction Recovery

Using mindfulness to cultivate compassion allows addict to lean into recovery.


In a recent article in Berkeley University’s “Greater Good,” Paul Gilbert, PhD, wrote about turning our attention toward compassion. He discussed how the brain works, the ways many mental health problems begin, and how we can counteract or heal some of these issues through mindfulness. Mindfulness develops and deepens compassion toward others and ourselves, an important emotion to foster for anyone, but certainly among addicts in recovery.


Compassion means “to suffer together.” It is the feeling that arises when we see someone suffering and want to help alleviate that suffering. Compassion is what I feel when I first meet an addict seeking recovery. 


by Constance Scharff, Ph.D., and Richard Taite