Practicing Mindfulness in Addiction Recovery
Everyone who struggles with drug and alcohol addiction has different reasons for using substances, however a common denominator in a lot of people’s stories is: they drink and drug to avoid thoughts and feelings. Practicing mindfulness in addiction recovery can change the outcome and rate of success in a person’s life. Mindfulness can help shape a person into a new way of thinking and processing negative thoughts and emotions. This helps give them a powerful tool when it comes to staying clean and sober. It helps them to combat the negativity in a positive way that allows them to maintain recovery and get through the thoughts and feelings that once led to using drugs and alcohol as a means of coping.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a keen awareness about thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Being able to, purposefully, look at thoughts and feelings as they are occurring so that you can identify anything triggering to learn to cope with them. Identifying these thoughts and feelings, and not reacting to them emotionally or without intention can help to change your thought processes and patterns surrounding the use of drugs and alcohol. Practicing mindfulness is part of a holistic therapy that helps alleviate symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and can help to improve focus. The early stages of recovery for anyone can be super stressful as you learn a completely new way of life, there can be racing thoughts and a desire to constantly be on the move. Being aware of this (mindful) you can find a healthy balance.
Mindfulness and Addiction Recovery
Some of the biggest deterrents to successfully recovery from drug and alcohol addiction include stress, anxiety, and depression. Mindfulness in addiction recovery helps to combat these feelings by identifying and processing the feelings and emotions in a positive, non judgmental or emotional way. For example, in early recovery, cravings are high. The drugs and alcohol have just recently been removed from your life and when faced with uncomfortable situations, you may want to use. Rather than suppressing these feelings of using, acknowledge it. Feel its presence, and feel it as it begins to dissipate. Then you can feel yourself making through the very thing that made you continue drinking and drugging. You’ve then successfully overcome an obstacle to your recovery.
Approaching your thoughts and feelings in this way over a period of time will form it into a habitual way of processing them so you can better manage thoughts and feelings, positively, rather than turning to drugs and alcohol to cope. Positively identifying and processing triggering thoughts and emotions, practicing mindfulness in addiction recovery, is one of the best tools you can have under your belt when trying to maintain recovery.
What Mindfulness Practices are Used in Addiction Recovery?
Mindfulness in addiction recovery should always be tailored to a person’s specific needs. However there are some common practices that are taught to and used by people in recovery. Some techniques are used to help frame thought patterns in a way that is more positivity focused rather than the negative, self deprecating thoughts that many addicts and alcoholics think on a daily basis. Other mindfulness practices are used to help manage and alleviate symptoms of pain, or stress. All of the different practices of mindfulness in addiction recovery follow a basic guideline including these specific elements:
- Observation: Identifying the thoughts and experiences.
- Description: Describing the experiences
- Participation: Healthy engagement with the thoughts/experience.
- No Judgment: Accepting the experience or feeling (ie a craving) without judging it
- Focus: Focusing on individual things, without distraction
- Effectiveness: Actively making better choices for recovery
Learning to positively manage thoughts and emotions is what mindfulness in addiction recovery is all about. By implementing these practices into your daily life, you are forming a new routine surrounding thought processes.
Importance of Mindfulness
The positive connection between addiction and mindfulness in addiction recovery is uncanny. By practicing mindfulness, and learning a new way of thinking when it comes to drugs and alcohol, you are essentially retraining your brain to be able to self soothe the thoughts and feelings that once led you to drugs and alcohol. By staying aware, you can stay in control.
Help for Addiction in Lexington, KY
Mindfulness in addiction recovery can benefit those who struggle in insurmountable ways. Learning to be aware and change the way you think can help you to grow and change in recovery. Addiction is a monster and changes the most loving and understanding person into someone completely different. If you or a loved one struggle with addiction, there is help. You don’t have to go through it alone and you don’t have to continue to suffer.
At Lexington Addiction Center, we offer a comprehensive program to help you learn new skills to live addiction-free. Help if just a phone call away. Contact us today and begin living a healthy, mindful life of recovery.