About Integral Recovery

What is Integral Recovery?

In the information age of the 21st century, the world has become exceedingly complex. Never before in history have we had such access to the sum total of all human knowledge, technology, and wisdom.

If you work with recovering addicts or are engaged in a recovery process from addiction, this has two significant consequences. First, it has become increasingly difficult to navigate and make sense of the world. Second, recovering addicts and health care providers have virtually unlimited access to a cornucopia of psycho-spiritual technology to augment their personal recovery.

This program presents students with a progressive recovery map and toolkit suitable for the complex and often intimidating 21st century.  This ultra-modern approach to recovery is known as Integral Recovery. The Integral Recovery approach provides the necessary knowledge to guide an individual in working a wholly comprehensive, inclusive, and sustainable recovery program, achieved through an integration of the best contemporary knowledge and personal development tools.

Integral Recovery is an approach that includes and honors all the vital aspects of the recovering individual’s life in a comprehensive way. The Integral Recovery approach breaks the dichotomy between living life and having a recovery program by creating an Integral Recovery lifestyle that embraces all the important dimensions of one’s life.

We can define the Integral Recovery approach or paradigm as mindfully practicing physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, social, and environmental dimensions as part of an Integral Recovery lifestyle that is geared towards continued personal growth in relation to self, others, and the transcendent.

What Makes Integral Recovery Different?

John Dupuy, our founder, was recently asked, “What makes Integral Recovery different from any other approach to recovery?” He answered, “Integral Recovery is a practice. Integral Recovery is an ongoing, daily, transformative practice that is illuminated by the Integral lenses that make up the Integral map.”

The theoretical Integral map does not reach its potential and ignite the fires of transformation and healing until doing replaces thinking. Taking action through daily practice is a commitment to take responsibility for your own sobriety, awareness, and evolution.

The anecdotal evidence and the science is overwhelming: to achieve greatness in any field of human endeavor takes hard work and intelligent practice. In Integral Recovery, we have boiled Integral practice down to its essentials — practices which almost everyone can do in order to achieve the greatest versions of themselves.

Beyond mere sobriety, we must create a life that is truly worth living and replace the pseudo happiness of drugs and alcohol with the authentic happiness that comes through practice, self-discipline, and the grittiness of character of those individuals who have committed themselves to a lifelong Integral practice.

This may sound simple — and it is. But it is not easy. Achieving greatness never has been easy, nor should it be. There is challenge in this, there is hope, and there is glory. And a dedication and commitment to Integral practice is very challenging in the beginning — just as leaving behind the habits of using and abusing drugs and alcohol is very difficult in the beginning.

At Integral Recovery Institute, we tell our students that in the beginning of their recovery process, they need to put the same time and effort into getting sober that they previously put into staying high. As in any practice, we must be willing to adopt a “beginner’s mind”. We do this by seeing the hope of a better future and life, and consistently practicing the disciplines of Integral Recovery. Then, by incremental (or sometimes dramatic) leaps forward in our own evolution, we experience the miracles that a life committed to Integral practice can deliver.

So allow us to be your teachers, your guides, and coaches, to get you into and winning the game of your own life. We establish our Integral practices using the Integral map, and in turn the practices establish us. As a student once said to me, “So, John, what you’re saying is, ‘Practice is the guru?'” Yes,” I told him. That is exactly what I’m saying.”

The Integral Recovery Story

Integral Recovery was born out of John’s years of struggle as a health care treatment provider working with alcoholics, addicts, and their families. He spent most of these years in the therapeutic wilderness industry, leading adults and adolescents on extended wilderness journeys for emotional healing and renewal. He has also worked as a counselor and therapist in residential treatment, and served in law-enforcement as a Military Police Investigator in Germany.

Over the years, John helped design and start a couple of recovery programs, Passages to Recovery and Open Sky Wilderness, with the intent to improve upon the existing approaches to drug and alcohol treatment. He made himself into an addiction “expert,” as it was abundantly clear that graduate and medical schools were not preparing therapists and doctors to deal with our Number One Health Care Problem: alcoholism, addiction, and drug abuse!

In the course of his work, John listened to thousands of stories from addicts and their families, both in the wilderness and in conventional settings. He became intimate with the philosophy and practice of Alcoholics Anonymous (which he considers the first word in modern addiction treatment, but certainly not the last).

He studied neurobiology, nutrition, exercise, spirituality, and meditation. But he was never satisfied. The success rates for both AA and traditional treatment were tragically low. As John puts it: “To tell the truth, I was beginning to take the whole thing personally. I was sick and tired of seeing lives destroyed and families crushed. We were getting our collective butts kicked. I felt overwhelmed, depressed, and not a little angry.”

Enter the AQAL map

Somewhere in early 2005, John came across IntegralNaked.org, which focuses on the work of Ken Wilber, the founder of Integral Institute. Ken is a brilliant philosopher, the likes of which our human family has seldom, if ever before, produced. John had read some of Ken’s work in graduate school, but lost touch over the years. On the site, he discovered a forty-page PDF file named, “Introduction to Integral Theory and Practice: IOS Basic and the AQAL Map.”

The ideas and insights in that paper blew John’s mind…then put it back together again at a whole new level. AQAL (pronounced ah-qwal) is a “theory of everything” that includes how our mind, body, culture, and society fit together at multiple levels of complexity and awareness. He immediately saw how the AQAL Map brought together all the diverse pieces that he had been struggling to integrate to find a better way of treating addiction. It was truly a “Eureka, I’ve found it!” moment. The basic overview of how Integral Recovery would work was immediately apparent.

John’s first thought was, “I must find the people who are already working on this Integral Recovery thing.” He spent a few months diving deeper into Ken’s substantial body of work and searching for the “Integral Recovery people.” Little by little, it dawned on him that there weren’t any others—that John was probably it, for the moment. This was a sobering realization. He began to study harder and apply himself with true intensity and focus. He had a strong inner conviction that what he was learning would be important down the road.

Since AQAL is not just a cognitive tool but a very practical guide for self-transformation, John threw himself into a daily Integral Life Practice (ILP) as delineated by Ken and the folks at Integral Institute. ILP is a whole-being transformational practice designed to magnify health, vitality, and higher awareness in body, mind, soul, and emotions. John had worked out for years and led a rather robust life as a wilderness guide, and had also practiced meditation over the years. But nothing prepared him for the dramatic changes a dedicated ILP would produce. He had found the key to Integral Recovery.

Supercharged Meditation – Recovery at the Speed of Sound

About six months into his journey of transformation, John began using brain entrainment technology as a powerful aid to his meditation practice. Brainwave entrainment harmonizes the right and left hemispheres of the brain, and produces progressively deeper states of relaxation, clarity, and awareness. This served as a catalyst for his ongoing transformation, and he has experienced extraordinary results in his own life and with his clients.

At Integral Recovery Institute, we believe that Integral Theory is on the cutting edge of a whole new level of emergent human consciousness, and we believe that Integral Recovery will be riding that wave into the field of alcohol and drug treatment. We invite you to read the papers and information contained here, listen to our podcasts, take part in our community, and see if you don’t agree.

If you do agree, we invite you to join with us in this pioneering effort and approach to saving lives, families, and generations of young people to come. And perhaps we can administer a little butt kicking of our own. Look out addiction, we’re going Integral.

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