April 2, 2014


Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention Shows Greater Long-Term Effectiveness Than Standard Relapse Prevention

A study of 286 people who had completed initial treatment for substance use disorders is the first to compare long-term outcomes from a mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) group, a standard relapse-prevention group (RP), and a 12-step group with psychoeducation. Twelve months after completing 8-week programs in MBRP and RP, individuals in the mindfulness group had significantly lower levels of substance use than participants in the standard relapse prevention (RP) group.

The results of the three-year study were published online by the Journal of the American Medical Association—Psychiatry on March 19, 2014. The article, “Relative Efficacy of Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention, Standard Relapse Prevention, and Treatment as Usual for Substance Use Disorders: A Randomized Clinical Trial”, was written by Sarah Bowen, PhD of the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington, and 10 colleagues who collaborated on the study. .

Note: MBRP integrates both mindfulness-based and cognitive-behavioral relapse prevention approaches. Standard relapse prevention is cognitive-behavioral therapy-based. The treatment-as-usual (TAU) group engaged in 12-step programming and psychoeducation.

At the 6-month follow-up, individuals in both the MBRP and RP groups were using significantly lower levels of drugs and alcohol than those in the TAU group. In most measures, the levels of substance use were lowest for the RP group.

At the 12-month follow-up, there was a reversal. The MBRP group showed the lowest levels of substance use in all instances.

12 months after the interventions TAU RP MBRP

Number of drug use days* ………………………………………………. 4.63 6.09 3.06
Percentage of participants using any drugs………….…………. 13 15 9
Number of heavy drinking days** ………………………..…..………. 4.65 3.89 1.44
Percentage of participants involved in any heavy drinking 19 17 8

Two limitations in the study were noted: (1) The RP and MBRP groups included therapist training and homework assignments, whereas the TAU group did not, and (2) Due to limited urinanalysis data, much of the data was self-reported. However, the authors pointed out that research indicates that self-reports of substance use are not significantly different from urinanalysis data.

To read the abstract for this article, go to:

*The average number of days that participants engaged in drug use in the 90 days prior to the 12-month assessment.
**The average number of days that people engaged in heavy drinking in the 90 days prior to the 12-month assessment

Last Practice Session for 2012

Our last Monday night practice session for 2012 is Monday, December 17th in
the Group Room (second floor) at the Family Life Bureau / Basilica. The next two
Monday nights are Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve so we won’t be meeting
then. We will resume on Monday, January 7th.

Please arrive 6:45 or so for a 7:00 start, for sitting / walking / sitting practice and
then discussion until 8:30. (On book discussion group nights, beginning January
14th, until 9:00)

[If you're facing the Basilica from Military Rd., come to the west (left) side. From
the parking lot there, come to the "Main Entrance". There will be someone there
to let you in.]

Next Mindfulness Workshop Series

The next Mindfulness workshop series (7 weekly sessions) at the Family Life
Bureau will begin on Wednesday, January 23rd and continue on successive Wednesday evenings
from 7:00 to 9:30. To reserve a spot, e-mail your name and phone number to: flb@nf.aibn.com or call 579-0168 x242.

Ego (Self) and the Spiritual Path–Seminar

Andrew Safer will be presenting a seminar on Ego (Self) and the Spiritual
on Friday night, January 25th and all day Saturday, January 26th in the
Conference Room at the Pastoral Centre (Basilica). For more information, stay

Taking the Leap Discussion Group

The next book we will be reading and discussing is Taking the Leap: Freeing
Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears by Pema Chodron. For those who
pre-ordered, I will bring copies to our January 7th meditation session. Our first discussion will be at 8:00 pm on Monday, January 14th (after practice), and will continue every other Monday night.

Workshop Series Completed at the Parish of the Good Shepherd

On November 18th, we completed a three-workshop series on Mindfulness at the Parish of the Good Shepherd in Mount Pearl. Conducting the walking meditation in the Church was a new experience! Many thanks to Reverend Geoff Peddle for extending the invitation.

Eighth Mindfulness Workshop Series Completed at the Family Life Bureau – November 8th, 2012

Practical Compassion and Mindfulness Seminar with Alan Sloan — a Highlight of 2012

Alan Sloan, leadership coach, educator and consultant based in Halifax, (http://alansloanconsulting.ca/) presented a weekend workshop on Practical Compassion and Mindfulness at the Pastoral Centre, The Basilica in mid- October. His DVD, Mindfulness and Authenticity, sold like hotcakes. We look forward to seeing Alan again!

Fall Mindfulness Workshop Series

Andrew’s Fall Mindfulness workshop series (6 sessions) at the Family Life Bureau will begin on Wednesday, September 26th (7:00 to 9:30 pm) and continue every Wednesday night until November 7th (Hallowe’en excepted). For more information about the workshop series, see “Workshops” below. The cost is $60. To reserve a spot, please call 579-0168 x 242.

We meet in the Conference Room on the second floor. Come to the west side of the Basilica complex (left side if you’re facing the Basilica from Military Road). From the “Main Entrance” sign, come to the metal-framed glass door just behind it.

A Seminar on Love and Relationships on the Spiritual Path with Ken Friedman

Date: Friday, June 15th – Sunday, June 17th

Friday 7-9 pm; Saturday 9 am – noon, 1:30 – 4; Sunday 9 am – noon

Location: Corpus Christi Parish Centre, 260 Waterford Bridge Road, St. John’s

This seminar will explore teachings from the renowned Buddhist and Shambhala meditation master, Chogyam Trungpa, on relationships and the nature of love. Topics include: meditation and the realization of aloneness; masculine and feminine principles; the meaning of marriage or union on the spiritual path; and a series of practices for relating to others in everyday life. The program will include talks, mindfulness meditation instruction, meditation practice,and group discussions.

A student of Chogyam Trungpa’s since 1974, Mr. Friedman has presented seminars based on the Buddhist and Shambhala teachings in New york City, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Halifax, Montreal, Denver, Atlanta, London, Paris, and Amsterdam, and in other cities throughout North America.

Cost: Friday night talk: $10; Full weekend program: $60. Discounts are available.

To register and purchase tickets, contact Andrew Safer:

asafer@nf.sympatico.ca – 722-2716


Individual Mindfulness Instruction at Aspens & Oaks

Seminar on “Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery” with Carolyn Rose Gimian, April 27th – 29th.

A Seminar on Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery with Carolyn Rose Gimian

Date: Friday night, April 27th 7-9 pm–public talk
Saturday, April 28th 9 am – 4 pm (lunch break 12-1:30) Sunday, April 29th 9 am – 12 noon.

Location:Family Life Bureau (The Pastoral Centre) west side of Basilica: “Main Entrance”

What does it mean to smile at fear? To begin with, it means to relax with uncertainty, allowing ourselves to be fully with ourselves, as we are. One way to cultivate this is through the practice of meditation.The application of mindfulness allows us to stop the world from spinning, by stopping the spinning of our own minds. When we begin to see the situation as it is, and see our own minds clearly, we’re on the road toward defusing anxiety and panic. From the experiences we have in meditation, we may also begin to see how to relax on the spot in the midst of the most difficult circumstances in our lives. It is possible to be there in a simple and open way.

The weekend will include an introduction to mindfulness meditation, periods of meditation practice, several talks, group discussions, and smaller group activities.

Carolyn Rose Gimian has been a meditation teacher for more than 35 years. A senior student of Chogyam Trungpa, she is the editor of many of his books, including The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, and Smile at Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery. Mrs. Gimian is also the Director Emeritus of the Shambhala Archives and the Director of the Chogyam Trungpa Legacy Project. She lives in Halifax.

Cost: Friday night talk $5; Weekend program $60, includes Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday (cash only, please) Discounts are available. Space is limited. To register, e-mail asafer@nf.sympatico.ca by April 20th.

Tickets available from Andrew Safer & The Pastoral Centre 9:00- 4:30 Mon.-Fri. west side of Basilica, “Main Entrance” (726-3660)



In individual sessions at Aspens & Oaks, Meditation Instructor Andrew Safer provides an overview of mindfulness, gives meditation instruction, offers tips on how to establish a regular meditation practice, introduces mindfulness exercises, and provides guidance on how meditation practice relates to everyday life. Aspens & Oaks: 754-2068 – 23 Cashin Avenue, St. John’s


Mindfulness Workshop Series with Andrew Safer at the Family Life Bureau: March 28th to May 2nd: 7:00 to 9:30 pm

Mindfulness practice brings us back to the here and now and helps us to not get caught up in the storylines in our head about the past and future. Presented by Andrew Safer, a practitioner with 40 years’ experience in mindfulness meditation, this workshop series is for beginners and people who would like to develop a regular mindfulness practice.