Segments in this Video

Addiction and Relationships (03:26)


A 41-year-old man has a powerful relationship with alcohol such that it takes precedence over all other relationships.

Real World vs. Spiritual Life (04:56)

The workaday world is diametrically opposed to the spiritual life, says one addict. Substance abuse is one way to bridge the gap or to escape altogether. A middle-aged, alcoholic surfer traces his life from childhood to his twenties.

Co-Dependents and the Addict (04:08)

When other family members place intense focus on another member who is an addict, the addict becomes the center of their lives.

Life Stressors and Alcohol (03:14)

Addicts want immediate gratification. For alcoholics, alcohol is a way to feel less pain. A healing diet can help alcoholics give up alcohol. Over 3/4 of Americans hate their jobs; and most heart attacks occur on Monday mornings.

Challenges of Rehabilitation (03:27)

In alcohol rehab, alcoholics are often medicated with sedatives. For an alcoholic, this takes him or her even lower than entering rehab. Upon release, many alcoholics feel very depressed.

Coping Mechanisms (04:11)

A descendant of Native Americans discusses the difficulty of finding his place in today's world. To distract himself from his addictions, an artist loses himself in his paintings. Painting is his meditation. Addicts often live lonely lives.

Recovery and Personal Responsibility (03:01)

On an intellectual level, most addicts understand that they are choosing not to change their lives for the better. The idea of taking responsibility is too frightening or inconceivable. Many people have more support for their addiction than for recovery.

Recovery and Spiritual Development (03:10)

An addict recalls his two-year recovery period in which he experienced intense spiritual development.

Substance Abuse as Crime (03:13)

In America today, addiction is a moral issue. The government incarcerates both men and women who have substance abuse problems. These people require treatment more than punishment.

Healthcare Providers and Addictions (02:25)

Physicians are often reluctant to ask questions about substance abuse. Many lack training in this regard, and others do not have the time to deal with these types of problems. Many healthcare providers are abusers themselves.

Shamanistic Healing (04:06)

A 41-year-old alcoholic, who spends his life surfing, leaves Los Angeles to visit a shaman in Arizona. The shaman and the addict head into the desert where they will participate in ceremony and ritual to honor the shadow side of the self.

Challenge of Recovery (05:58)

Recovering addicts have found that the "high" of spirituality is greater than the "high" of substances. For these people, recovery would not be possible without a spiritual life. Recovery is possible through surrender.

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A Wave of Compassion: Spirituality and the Recovering Addict

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $129.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $194.92
3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



What does it mean to be a “functioning” alcoholic? How does it feel to struggle with substance abuse day after day? What keeps addicts from truly recovering? This program explores such questions from a range of unconventional viewpoints, creating an honest look at addiction that avoids judgmental or strictly clinical approaches. At the center of the film is Jimmy, a 41-year-old surfer who describes the drinking problem he has had since age 13. The challenges of recovery are also discussed by several experts: a physician, a psychologist, a nutritionist, and a social worker—while unique and insightful commentary is provided by a Native American shaman, a stand-up comedian, and other voices of reason and personal experience. (47 minutes)

Length: 48 minutes

Item#: BVL39540

ISBN: 978-1-60467-377-7

Copyright date: ©2007

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

“A must-see for trainers of students in the helping professions. …  Viewers will obtain useful information regarding the complex nature of addiction, as well as essential insights related to effective and individualized intervention.” —Margaret M. Bierly, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, California State University, Chico

A Wave of Compassion stimulated my students’ thinking in ways no other film did. It gave them a new, expanded perspective on addiction.” —Dr. Susan Dobra, Lecturer, California State University, Chico

"Addresses the growing epidemic of addiction in a comprehensive and compassionate fashion.… It is a film that will touch everyone who is conscious.” —R. Kelley Otani, M.D.

“Delves into the heart of addiction, while encouraging all of us to take a deeper look at its impacts on our society and ourselves.” —Melissa Shanahan, M.A., Educational Consultant

“The healthcare system is so overburdened that they don’t look at the humanity of the person. A Wave of Compassion takes the time to notice and honor the individual.” —Mother of an alcoholic

“On a personal level it gave me an insight to addiction that helped me cope with what my daughter was going through. It had a profound affect on me. Al-anon helped in that I knew I wasn't alone in what families of addicts go through. Your film went beyond that. It's hard to put into words, but it put me inside the mind of the addict.” —Mother of a drug addict

“Addiction is explained in a heartfelt and honest way that teaches what connects rather than separates us all. With a deeper understanding of the path of addiction, there is hope for a new approach to treatment.” — Karen Sheeks, RN, MS

“I have presented A Wave of Compassion many times to clients in both clinics and private practice. …  Clients will often make spontaneous reference to the film weeks and even months after watching it. … The power of this film by Jody McNicholas is also attributable to the skill in which she blends the personal narrative (a true story) with various statements made by mainstream professionals and experts in alternative medicine.”  —Donald Meshirer, RN, M.A.

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