Admitting powerlessness over substance abuse is a critical step on the path of recovery. There is a reason that such an admission truly works for individuals in recovery. Because it involves a moment of clarity and awareness, cutting through all the denial. But the process of recovery can become an obsession in itself, when the individual in recovery wants to dominate their cravings. This is where mindfulness comes in.
Mindfulness is all about purposely paying attention to the present moment. The practice of mindfulness provides the individual in recovery an opportunity to simply be present with the craving or compulsion, until it loses its power. Whenever the craving arises, the individual in recovery acknowledges it, but takes no steps towards it. Learning non reactivity keeps the individual in recovery sober.
Meditation – Traditional and Moving
Meditation is a great way to practice mindfulness. It doesn’t have to be hard, and one doesn’t have to be a monk to meditate. Moving meditations like yoga or tai chi are an option instead of traditional meditation. It’s a way to stop identifying with thoughts, become more aware of emotions. Stop focusing on the ‘what ifs’ and learn to distinguish between what is happening and what could happen. Stop analyzing behavior and planning new strategies for recovery and become aware of feelings as they occur and what the gut says. It is mindfulness that helps one recognize the triggers that kickstart the cravings.
Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness increases an individual’s ability to manage stress on the difficult path of recovery. An individual in recovery will face many challenges, and practicing mindfulness is a great tool. When cravings arise, the individual will be able to observe them, without getting carried away.
Relapse is a common part of recovery, and being mindful could make the individual aware of the warning signs of relapse, and perhaps avoid it altogether.
Tips for Practicing Mindfulness
Setting aside a bit of time each day to meditate, or do yoga, or walk, or whatever it is that brings the individual in recovery to to mindfulness, is the first step. This could be as little as 20 minutes a day.
Don’t be too concerned about how to meditate. There are any number of books and videos that can help a beginner with practicing mindfulness. The trick is to actually start the practice, however basic, and not avoid mindfulness by reading meditation books and watching yoga videos, and not actually doing anything more.
Understand that mental chatter is normal. Everyone has something going on in their heads. It can make it difficult to remain focused. This doesn’t mean that meditation is not working, rather the opposite. The individual in recovery wouldn’t have noticed the mental chatter, if it wasn’t for practicing mindfulness.
Through self awareness, an individual in recovery can consistently check in with their emotions and take preventative action before an impending relapse, and be self accepting enough to stay on the path to recovery.
Hired Power provides information and resources for addiction intervention and recovery. If you are struggling to kick a drug or substance use habit, call us. Let us help you create a solid foundation for lasting recovery. 800.910.9299