Examining the Buddhist Approach to Addiction Recovery

The Buddhist approach to addiction recovery emphasizes mindfulness, which means living totally in the present. Very often, recovering addicts are able to heal the body but find it very difficult to pull their minds away from drugs and other vices. A weak mind is a threat that prevents us from fully enjoying the present.

Conscious mindfulness involves meditation. It helps them with day-to-day decision making, combat stress, and discover the joy of daily life that has gone missing from their lives because of drugs.

Practicing Mindfulness

The practice of mindfulness entails that you focus your thoughts, emotions, and energies on the present. When you do that, your actions follow. Mindfulness leaves no room for other thoughts. It heightens the experiences of the present. With practice, mindfulness helps people develop rectitude and compassion.

Building Awareness

The recovery process is a tricky one. You can never lower your guard against the triggers that might send you back to the drug you’re trying to get away from. Mindfulness teaches us to step back and assess the situation. It is like being an observer of the events, thinking about the situation, and then acting. Mindfulness puts a brake on our impulsive approach of taking the path of least resistance, i.e. succumbing to the urge to take drugs. Mindfulness helps us parry and defend against multiple attacks from urges and cravings. With each successful defense, we progress in this discipline. Mindfulness makes us realize the transience of all that is around us, and that includes our own bodies. It teaches us that both happiness and sorrow are phases, and that we should not be too moved by either. It helps inculcate the attitude of a detached observer.  

Mindfulness harmonizes our minds and bodies to the extent that, when our bodies’ energies go awry, we can actually sense it and take corrective action. Meditation is an important tool to develop mindfulness. Regular meditation enables us to develop an awareness of the thoughts that are trying to make their way into our minds. We can block negative thoughts and those triggers that drive us to drugs. Meditation gives us the strength to introspect and understand the reasons for our addiction. We can finally stop running from ourselves and fight addiction.

Research suggests that meditation generates a feeling of well being and heals the brain’s reward centers that have been damaged from drug abuse.

Meditation does not have be practised for hours at a stretch. A few minutes in the morning, followed by short sessions in the afternoon and dusk are sufficient for introspection and thought control. Mindfulness, though, requires that we remain aware of each and every action, and stay in the present. If our mind wanders, we drag it back and put it on course to accomplish the task undertaken.

Mindfulness borrows from Buddhist philosophies that encourage us to look inward for finding the resources to regain sobriety and maintaining it. This said, one does not have to be a Buddhist to practice mindfulness. It’s a secular practice.

 

Hired Power can help you learn more about mindfulness, and how it can help you forgive yourself and move ahead to leading a fulfilling life. Contact us for more information.