Top bar right text

Breaking Free Of Addiction – Dr Judson Brewer & Saki Santorelli

Why mindfulness is a powerful way to help us break free of addiction – Dr Judson Brewer & Saki Santorelli

Judson Brewer is a thought leader in the “science of self-mastery,” having combined nearly 20 years of experience of mindfulness training with his scientific research. He is the Director of Research at the Centre for Mindfulness and an internationally known expert in mindfulness training for addiction. He has also studied the underlying neural mechanisms of mindfulness using standard and real-time fMRI,and is currently translating these findings into clinical use.

In this presentation, you’ll explore the science of how we get caught up in cycles of addiction and learn why mindfulness is a powerful way to help us break free of addiction and unhelpful behaviour.

As Judson shares what he learned about the neural mechanisms of mindfulness (which he discovered using standard and real-time fMRI) you’ll gain some valuable insights on deepening your meditation practice.

In the second video, Saki Santorelli guides a deep extended mindfulness practice. Enjoy this longer practice session which gives you a chance to sink in and touch the depths of what mindfulness has to offer.

Listen to Judson Brewer here

Share this

Listen to Saki Santorelli here

Share this



Ready to start your journey to leading a more mindful life?

Join over 250,000 others and register to receive exclusive member content, weekly exercises, quotes, meditations and more delivered straight to your inbox.

Register here

Want more from The Mindfulness Summit?

Upgrade to get full access to the Full Mindfulness Summit Journey including access to download & stream all expert interviews, presentations, meditation audios, video and separate audio meditation tracks (can download onto your phone to listen anywhere) & pdf transcripts of everything.

Get Full Access to The Mindfulness Summit Journey

Show Notes

Join The Mindfulness Summit Journey here

Come and join the community discussions at any time on our Facebook page

If you’d like to check out the app Judson created you can check it out here

Lean more about the Centre for Mindfulness (where Saki and Judson both work) here

You can also check out Saki’s book ‘Heal Thyself’ here

Check out Melli’s blog, events and retreats at MrsMindfulness.com




Buy full access pass

Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

Upgrade for Full Access Pass

Buy full access pass

Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

Upgrade for Full Access Pass

Buy full access pass

Purchase a full access pass to unlock downloads for the full interview transcripts, audio, video and separate audio meditation tracks.

Upgrade for Full Access Pass


Leave a Comment

128 Responses

  1. Happy Day 29 Everyone! I hope you enjoy today’s presentations as much as I enjoyed creating them. I’m so grateful for Saki’s touching in on the depth and sacredness of this practice. As you can see I was quite moved by our time together. I wish you all a wonderful day and I am so happy to be sharing this mindful adventure with ya’ll!

      1. Susan Fahrney

        Amazing scientific insight and very well explained by Judson. I got a lot out of it personally and will share with others. There are so many ways to be addicted, both large and small. Besides the “big ones” such as a drugs, alcohol, smoking, eating…. there are also the small things that give us pleasure such as sugar, fats, praise, attention, etc. Mindfulness helps put these in their proper place….a perspective outside ourselves that allow us to see them as inconsequential to the big picture (living a good life) and not get caught up in the pleasure-seeking behavior. Thank you for this day’s session!

    1. Marie Holmberg

      Thank you so much Melli for giving us this gift of the mindfulness summit. Its really been such an inspiring month! I have learned lessons for Life. Will never forget this experience. This has been such a big impact on my Life. And will continue to be a big part of my life. So THANK YOU! lots of love från Sweden.


    2. Teresa Gómez

      Mellisa, te voy a echar de menos—I’m gonna miss you a lot. Thank you so much for this hard work you’ve done to bring mindfulness to the world, it’s such a loving act. This is one of your kind cards and now we all have one to use with people around us. I vow to you. Love

      1. Aida I+Rivie-Angley

        De adonde eres, Theresa? Where are you from, Theresa? I’m from Puerto Rico, but have lived states side for 65 years! Along time! Agree w/you totally. Melli has given us the best gift anyone can give. I am blessed. Have been teaching Hatha Yoga since 1980, learned many meditation techniques, I had allowed body issues to get in my way…I committed to the group, my meditation is on track again! Everyonce in awhile, someone or something guides us back home. May you be at-ease, may you be healthy, may you be happy, may you be aware….Om Shanti Om.

    3. Judith Levin

      Meli, I can’t thank you enough for these moving experiences this month. You have accomplished an amazing program. I am touched and so grateful. Blessings, Judith Levin

    4. Ben

      Hi 🙂

      How is the DMN related to compassion? Because in a compassion meditation you are not day dreaming, but you thinking about yourself and others in stead of the flow of your breath. Is this also related to reduce the PCC?

      Gr Ben Janssen

    5. Brenda

      Thank you Melli, this has been one amazing experience for someone who had never done something like this. What a great job you have done planning this and for it to come together was wonderful. Thank you so much.

    6. V Jane+Windsor

      The Summit has become part of my morning ritual. It points me into my day with peace and hope. As a newby, somewhat floundering, I have not chosen a daily practice. I know that the Summit has given so many resources. I will explore, but I will miss the daily experience of the Mindfulness Summit.

    7. Thank you so much for all of the work you have done to put this summit together, Melli! It was truly a wonderful and life changing experience! The interviews and mindfulness practices have become a part of my day, and I will miss them. I will definitely continue to practice on my own. Thanks again to you, Matt and all of the presenters. You have changed one small part of the world from the inside out. 🙂

    8. Woraphat Arthayukti

      Hi Melli! Being a student of the Thai Theravada Forest Buddhist Tradition I have found that the presentations in the Summit by western scholars and practitioners contain a wealth of information that complement extremely well what I have learned from the teachings of the Forest Tradition, especially Mindfulness which is the first step along the path. The scientific explanations and viewpoints used to introduce Mindfulness to a western audience appeal to me greatly. Melli wishing you the very best in your endeavor to make Mindfulness mainstream. It could just save our world!

      1. Bev Arnold

        Thank you for all of this information, Melli. The scientific evidence is often the clincher for many in the western world who are resistant to the idea of meditating. As a hypnotherapist, the reference to addiction is very useful and mindfulness practice can so easily be incorporated into hypnotic treatment of addictions. Judson’s presentation was extremely valuable to me. Thank you again for the whole idea of the summit.

    9. Katja Fleck

      Hi Melli,
      I also would like to thank you deeply from my heart. It has been an inspiring, insightful month.
      But I really feel like most of the people who have commented here:
      I will miss the summit!
      You guys have started something big and powerful here!!! I have got one question but I believe this is too short notice to be answered in the Q&A and hopefully you will answer it anyway because it seems such an obvious question to me:


      I am looking forward to hearing about ideas from all of you out there!
      I am ready 😛

    10. Christina Ortiz

      Wow! As a clinical psych doctoral student interested in easing the suffering of those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol through mindfulness-related treatments (ACT and DBT in particular), I was just blown away by Judson’s research. So incredible. I cannot wait to share this with others. I will definitely incorporate this information when I teach mindfulness to my clients. I was also truly moved by Saki’s words. Seriously, he did such a wonderful job leading this meditation. This all has just been wonderful and I am sad to see it almost at the end. Thank you Melli for putting all of this together in such an accessible way. This summit has really put into stone for me the way I’d like to live my life – mindfully. Thank you thank you thank you

    11. Anne-Marie Lindell

      Thank you Melli. I too, was touched by today’s practice with Saki. A question arose, and I’m curious as to your thoughts:

      When the mind is relaxed and in a state of “no mind” or “nothingness” or “mindfulness”, is there research that indicates a person is more intuitive, psychic, or able to read another person’s thoughts? Or, have you had any personal experiences that would indicate mystical, or altered states brought on by meditation?

      PS. I too, am blown away by the magnitude of this summit, and grateful for your efforts. Thanks, Melli 🙂

    12. Caroline Armstrong

      Melli, greetings from England. This has been such a rich and beautiful experience that you have created for us all. It’s been a real honour to listen to so much wisdom and to feel a sense of opening in the company of so many others. Thank you seems too small really, but it is heartfelt.

    13. Denise Spencer

      Thank you so much for all the hard work you put in to getting this summit in place. I’ve enjoyed just about everyone of the speakers. You have really helped me with being more mindful in many ways. I hope to continue this journey and plan to approach my place of employment to schedule some mindfulness workshops. They have one but only one. Thank again Melli.

    14. S. Larabie

      When the summit first started, I never thought I would be able to sit more than 10 minutes lost in my breathing. Boy , was I wrong. I could have sat for a very long time with Saki. What a wonderful gift we have been given from Melli and all her guests. Thank you

  2. Barbara Collins

    Thank you so much for the mindfulness summit Mellie.

    It has been amazing to hear and see all these different voices, thoughts information wisdom . it has broadened my understanding of mindfulness practices all over the world and the different emphasises from the different contributers.

  3. Victoria Kamhi

    I was so excited to hear Judson’s talk and be part of Saki’s meditation practice that I woke up way too early this morning! 🙂 It was well worth it – very much enjoyed Judson’s enthusiasm as he shared a wealth of information and made it easily understandable. Saki – thank you so much for leading us in a very deep, meaningful meditation practice. I enjoyed taking your 8-week MBSR online class and am looking forward to attending your MBSR in Mind-Body Medicine program this summer in Omega. I hope that you and everyone enjoys your day. And again – thanks Melli for this amazing experience!

  4. Jo-Anna Roberts

    Thanks so much for this presentation showing another practical application of mindfulness training. As a stop smoking advisor, I really appreciate knowing about this. It makes me smile that seeing coloured charts does help bring the neuroscience alive. It’s a fascinating insight into the mindful brain. Pairing the talk with such a deep practice as we near the end of the summit was great. I have really appreciated the pure practice sessions. Thank you so much for creating this wonderful summit. I’ve gone from having an interest in mindfulness to practicing every day. Hearing from so many expert sources has deepened my appreciation of what mindfulness is and the potential it has for the world.

  5. Schnuriger

    Having a great time… discovering all this from the inside, and feeeling the personal need of all of this… Thank you so much for putting all this up ! and deeply wishing that all this becomes accessible in French language as available french ressources is not that huge up to now… Will try to find a way to get committed to this spreading. Deep and warm thanks again. Nathalie

  6. Juanita Rivera

    So many things just “clicked” into place as I listened to Dr Brewers words. Gracias un millón Melli for the effort put into making his summit possible. Can’t wait to sit and “live” Santorrelli’s meditation!

  7. ray arthur

    Thank you so much Melli, this has been an extraordinary Summit. Even though I did the course in Sydney with Timothea and Eva some years ago and learnt the basics it is amazing just how the many expression and experiences of its use are so energising. Even though I have done regular practice and used it with High school students in counselling, these sessions have provided a new optimism of just how effective it can be. So thanks again.

  8. Steven Dietrich

    Thank you Melli. If anyone is interested in a new practice that is actually easier to do than traditional meditation, and has more benefits, check out Mettatations.com. It is based on Positive Psychology and adds in touch, movement, and breathwork.

  9. Steven Dietrich

    Thank you Melli. If anyone is interested in a new practice that is actually easier to do than traditional meditation, and has more benefits, check out Mettatations. It is based on Positive Psychology and adds in touch, movement, and breathwork.

  10. Renata Blatnik

    Another great lecture today, Melli! Actually, my favorite one so far. 🙂
    Perhaps, because it explains scientifically how it all works….
    I just had to stop it several times- to let the ideas sink in.
    Other than that: great job dr. Brewer, congrats!

    Have never had so many insights in a single month!

  11. Joyce Soares

    Thank you SO much for this 31 day summit….it certainly has enriched my life and I am truly on the way to real mindfulness. It has been a hearts desire of mine now for while. Needed to hear and experience all of these speakers/practitioners to get a real grasp. Enjoyed Saki’s extended meditation today very much. Thank you Saki too for taking the time out of your precious day. God bless all your efforts.

  12. Darren

    “I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”

    ― Edgar Allan Poe

    “Every form of addiction is bad, no matter whether the narcotic be alcohol, morphine or idealism.”
    ― C.G. Jung

    “We are addicted to our thoughts. We cannot change anything if we cannot change our thinking.”

    ― Santosh Kalwar, Quote Me Everyday

    Addiction-Is Addiction-Is-Addiction. We can so easily end up programmed to habits, developed within us with the Pavlovian patterns of reinforcment that make addictions so powerful over time. Some are addicted to the obvious choices of substance, alcohol, coffee or tobacco. Others to food. Some to wealth and power, while others grow-up their addictions to gambling, sex-even to people, places and things.

    At the level of the human brain, the truth is becoming ever-more clear: addiction IS addiction IS addiction.

    We’re all the same, addicts. ‘Chasing The Scream’ while the world judges us for doing so. Hedonistically chasing pleasure, because we’ve not yet found our way to joy. We’re all hoping to fill an emptiness inside, that Gabor Mate suggests, for the most marginalized and abused in society, is simply love and nurture; or pain-relief that have been with the addict since Adverse Childhood Experiences left behind bruises on the soul that nobody else could ever see. In society, we don’t see these bruises because we refuse to look.

    We can continue to judge through moral understanding all we want, this will not ever change a thing in regards to addiction.

    As with all the lessons of the Mindfulness Summit: “You must develop a new way to think, if you wish to find a new way to be.” (Paraphrased from Marrianne Williamson).

    Judson Brewer: I took a shot recently to check out possiblilites for vocation working in research. I sent off a resume, and Dr. Brewer was so gracious, he responded right away. He shared that I’d need a few things to be able to work in the States, and that unfortunately it was only volunteers they were looking for at the Centre for Mindfulness. He shared this advise, which I’ve not forgotten:

    “You’re already awesome, learn to get out of your own way.”

    Paying it forward.

    The long practice today, WoW. I’m doing it again in the afternoon. This is the beauty of learning this practice with this kind of support (through the Summit). It’s becoming a new addiction. 🙂 We addicts love that about anything.

    Health, Peace, Wellness, Creativity, A More Healthily Functioning Mind: All this where once there was only trouble.

    A true blessing: A powerful gift.

    Be Well

  13. Mary

    I’ve struggled with intense depression and anxiety since I was a young child. Despite years of battling hopelessness and wanting to die, despite knowing I was dealing with a potentially hereditary disease and living with a father who could never get free of these issues, I somehow held onto the belief that I was not doomed to be that way forever. Since about 2008, I’ve had an idea that mindfulness was needed in my life. I’ve read lots of books, done some meditation on and off, and I’ve felt like I was on the verge of figuring some things out…but not yet. So I kept searching. And today, two days before my 40th birthday, this talk and some basic googling on its content has made it all click. I know what my path needs to be. I know the way out.

    THANK YOU!!!

  14. Åsa Holmberg

    Melli: I just saw your e-mail about the online meditation on saturday! Cool. Unfotunately the time, 22:00 on a saturday evening is not the best option for us in Sweden, will be difficult for me to attend since I’ll be on a party then. But maybe it’s possible to log in afterwards and do the guided meditation? Or will it only be available live? I’m having a serious case of FOMO (Fear of missing out) now, and that’s definetely not compatible with being mindful. I know … 😉 Love Åsa

    1. Mary

      I’m having the same feeling in the Eastern US! The time is right when I’ll be taking my little one trick-or-treating. I so want to participate! I hope we’ll be able to do so afterward. 🙂

  15. Shelly Faisey

    Great to hear the talk on analysis case studies and trials that go in to finding out the power of meditation and of being mindful. Thank you Melli, for adding such diversity to the summit.

  16. Mike Phelan

    Really enjoyed Judson and Saki today. Thank you.

    The combination of speakers and meditation experiences is powerful….really “puts some wood behind the arrow tip”….and “moves the needle”….

    Thank you Mellie, presenters, and participants! It has been a real privilege.

    Mellie – touch base if I can assist your ongoing efforts.

    With Gratitude from Boston.

  17. Martine Large

    Thank you once again. I am new to mindfulness meditation, and I have never meditated for such a long time. It was so difficult (I was reminded of Shamash Aladina’s words about falling asleep!) but I found Saki’s guidance moving and inspiring.

  18. Andrea Dasilva

    I, too, was moved and touched by the amazing meditation we all had the wonderful practice with Saki Santorelli. I again thank everyone involved with the Mindfulness Summit. This whole experience has been motivational, inspirational, simply beautiful – and it is not over yet…
    Thank you and many blessings to everyone reading this,

  19. Karen Kempf

    Actually today was the best one so far. I never knew how it looks on the brain and feel I better understand. I will miss the daily sessions and also will search for something to replace it. I now need the quiet time of meditation. Thank you Melli!

  20. lilly painter

    The presenter spoke way too quickly . I had trouble grasping an idea before he moved on to the next.
    I felt anxious…
    The rest of the summit has been quite amazing.
    Thanks again , Melli , for sharing this !

  21. Debra

    I must comment on today. The second I saw who the speaker was, I chuckled a bit. I knew who he was. On day 21 Timothea Goddard mentioned a local (to me) Mindfulness Center. I was curious and went to their website. That website led me to the Craving To Quit App Dr. Brewer mentioned. I started using this App 7 days ago. The original suggestion was to pick a quit date 3 weeks from starting the App. At first this seemed too soon. Then after following along with the App for a few days, it seemed too far away. I moved the quit date up a week. Now, today that new date seems too far away as well. Today I figured out that even though technically I am ‘allowed’ 7 cigarettes today, that does not mean I have to smoke any of them. I have not smoked any of them today. My quit date is now the first day I go without a cigarette, provided it is before Nov 5th. That quit day very well could be today. I’ve only been using this App for 7 days (21 day program) but it is already helping me more than I could have hoped.

  22. Jim Bright

    Really interesting talk from Judson Brewer. I am always interested in the neurosciences side of things.
    Also, that meditation practice from Saki Santorelli was incredible. It’s the longest I’ve sat since I’m a mindfulness newbie. I currently have a slight fever and was full of aches and pains before the meditation, so much so that I was reluctant to do it. However during and now after the practice, those aches and pains have subsided and I feel much better ! I’ve never known a thing like it. Thanks Melli and thanks Saki, wonderful people both 🙂

  23. Lori Farr

    I have been surprised at how many of these talks and meditations I have watched and participated in. I have been involved in mindfulness for many years and have found many of these talks to touch on new ground or have given fresh eyes on old ground. Quite wonderful.
    Todays talk and meditation were exceptional. Saki’s mindfulness meditation was masterful – simple, deep and expansive. A master in the flesh. An embodied master.
    Melli, if you were to post one session beyond the confines of the summit, this would be the one.
    In deep appreciation of the dreaming and the courage it took to make it all happen.

  24. Abby

    Thank you Melli. Sad that we are coming to the end of this wonderful summit. Been such an amazing experience. I have learnt so much in such a short space of time. Lessons that will stay with me a lifetime of practice. Loving you all the way from Ghana-West Africa.

  25. Marja L+van+Hulst

    Thnx Melli and all of the Mindful-teachers: so much kindness and compassion! Love to participate in this daily mindful awakening of our planet; hour after hour, region after region, country after country & again. Like firework on New-years eve 😉

  26. Liz H

    Hey another great speaker & I too am sad that we are nearly at the end ???? question for Judson that actually I have been mulling over during the summit. Is it possible to get addicted to meditation & would there be adverse affects? I worry it maybe an escape from the stresses & strains of life and therefore being used inadvertently. I do hope not as I personally am loving it & find I am wanting more ( like chocolate!!) great effort by all thank you xx

  27. Kathleen Rutkowski

    I will be sorry to see this Mindfulness Summit end. It has been an incredible experience. Melli asks every guest what the world will be like when Mindfulness goes mainstream well it is much easier to imagine after participating in this summit. What an exciting, engaging, inspirational and peaceful world. Thank you today to Judson and Saki. And Melli, thank you for being such an exceptional and caring person. In this event, you have contributed greatly to advancing your vision of a Mindful world.

  28. Helen O'Neill

    Saki’s meditation touched my heart so deeply, what a beautifully sacred practice he shared with us. Thank you so much Melli for organising this summit, I’ve enjoyed the variety of speakers and particularly the practices.

Leave a Reply