Mindfulness and Addiction Recovery: Why is it Important?
Over the years many different types of thought have been discussed in terms of addiction. There are a lot of different ways to approach such a crippling condition. Addiction has the potential to destroy a person’s body, mind, and life if left untreated. As more treatment options have been appearing so has states of mind. Mindfulness in recovery is a unique and useful state of mind that can help you and your family.
There are a lot of benefits of being mindful and aware before and after addiction treatment. What many people forget is that addiction affects the mind just as much as the body. Sometimes having a solid mindset and motivation can make a world of difference for long-term sobriety.
Silver Linings Recovery Center is here to help you get to a better life and mindset down the road. More than just changing your behavior, you need a support system by your side. We offer a number of treatment options with you in mind. You don’t have to go through it alone, don’t wait to get addiction help today.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a technique where a person actively pays attention to the present moment. During this process, a person takes note of what they are feeling and thinking, without judgment or any kind of criticism. It’s a simple inventory of what a person is experiencing with a completely neutral stance.
By getting to this level of balance, a person is able to take control of their emotions while regulating their thoughts. Mindfulness can be used in everyday life but it can be a great tool for substance abuse recovery. Addiction can be extremely stressful and sometimes these situations can lead you down a path of negative thoughts (which are dangerous for recovering addicts).
Rethinking these situations and your mindset can do a lot for long-term recovery. Mindfulness in recovery is something that should be considered and implemented if you are looking to improve your mindset and addiction. While techniques like this don’t work for everyone, mindfulness has a lot of benefits on its own.
The Three Components of Mindfulness in Recovery
As with most holistic approaches, there are specific components and steps towards successfully achieving mindfulness. There are three major aspects of mindfulness, each is essential to getting the most of mindfulness.
- Intentional: Mindfulness doesn’t occur on its own; the person must be consciously cataloging what they’re going through with each moment of time
- Accepting your thoughts: The person must accept the feelings they are sensing and must not deny them
- Being Non-Judgemental: Mindfulness doesn’t work if the person is actively judging and criticizing themselves. This is true if a person is overly confident or thinks highly of their emotions. It must be neutral and nonjudgmental to truly achieve mindfulness
Many times, a struggling addict may be thinking a string of negative thoughts without even realizing it. Mindfulness helps them explore and understand these thoughts in a safe and supportive environment. Over time, certain triggers and negative thoughts can become more manageable and less severe. These thoughts can lead to relapse and other issues down the line, which mindfulness can help avoid in the long term.
Mindfulness and Addiction Treatment
Mindfulness has been used for decades as a way of categorizing your thoughts and improving behavior. This practice stems back to Buddhist meditations, which was then morphed towards substance abuse treatment. Since then mindfulness has been used for stress reduction and has been used with psychotherapy for substance abuse and addiction.
Relaxation is something that is always useful for drug addiction treatment. However, mindfulness has a set of much more specific benefits for drug addiction. The body completely changes for the worse when the mass consumption of drugs and alcohol is introduced. The immune system and lungs are impacted completely.
While these are physical effects, mindfulness can actually help cope with some of these in some capacity. If used during the therapeutic stage of recovery, a person can see the psychical and physical changes in their body (from drugs and alcohol).
How Does a Person Achieve Mindfulness?
There are steps to achieving mindfulness some of which must happen during certain situations. Let’s say a person begins to feel overwhelmed with negative and strong emotions. Their therapist may start by telling the person to concentrate on their breathing. At this point, the person should stay grounded by focusing on tangible things to focus on (chair, wall color, clothes, etc.).
Staying grounded is vital to remain in control of your emotions and not lose the sense of the world around you. Strong thoughts can completely take over a person, which makes them give in to their thoughts. Once the person is grounded and in control, they must accept the thoughts as they.
Accepting your thoughts in these cases means understanding the nature of the thoughts themselves. These negative thoughts may be overpowering but they are only temporary. Additionally, they do not define the person. It can be tough to accept both of these ideas but it is necessary to break the pattern of negative thoughts and addiction.
Mindfulness and Rebuilding Past Relationships During Recovery
Oftentimes drug addiction can have many negative effects on a person’s body and mind. But another aspect that gets affected is the people around them. Certain feelings and negative emotions might stem from a person’s drug habits. This can completely destroy or change the relationships with those around a person. While recovering from addiction, it is crucial to have a good support system with loved ones. Whether it’s your family, husband, or wife, going through recovery together is essential.
Mindfulness allows a sense of unity and optimism in relationships. Stress levels may run high during the recovery so it’s important to be relaxed and on the same page as your loved ones. Mindfulness has been proven to create more satisfaction and unity in couples. If left untreated, addiction and its symptoms can begin to cause major problems in relationships.
Also, mindfulness enables couples to work together and cope with recovery together. It is not an easy climb up but with the right guidance and support, it is achievable. Research has found many connections between intimacy and addiction. It’s also important to know that you are not in this alone. Mindfulness can not only help you but your loved ones as well.
How Mindfulness Can Help Cope with Violent Thoughts and Behaviors
Anger, hostility, and unpredictable emotions can be extremely dangerous for addicts. Sometimes it takes one stressful outburst or incident to turn back to drug and substance use. This is the last thing you want when it comes to addiction recovery. Your mental and emotional state is vital for long-term recovery. If you are unable to keep your emotions in check, there can be worse consequences down the line.
In the past mindfulness has been used with inmates to treat their attitudes and behavior. They found that even inmates could take control of their emotions with mindfulness. Mindfulness allows a person to be completely aware of their feelings and in control before acting out. Mindfulness can help a person:
- Think carefully before acting out
- Be aware of their emotions and sensations
- Control their anger and panic – some cases getting away from a confrontation (specifically in jail when fighting with other inmates)
While this may be an extreme example, many of these ideas can benefit an addict. Panic, anger, and rage can be terrible components of addiction and recovery. Learning to be patient and calm can increase a person’s chances of long-term sobriety and recovery. While emotions may run high, there is always an option to control them and improve them.
The Importance of Practicing Mindfulness in Recovery
There is a strong correlation between mindfulness and addiction (a positive one). Mindfulness can be the perfect state of mind to confront addiction. It can be tough to let certain thoughts drift away and not take control of us. Mindfulness helps you be aware of these while staying completely in control. Simply cataloging these emotions and staying neutral can be a huge benefit during recovery.
Get Help Today
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, Silver Linings may be able to help. We offer a number of holistic treatment options like mindfulness during recovery. Addiction can be a tough situation but you don’t have to go through it alone. Let us help you and your loved ones get to a bright future. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options and if you have any questions at all!