The Connection Between Mindfulness and Addiction Recovery

Recovering from addiction is no easy task. It requires hard work, perseverance, and dedication to stay sober and keep yourself accountable. Mindfulness is one technique through which you can keep your mind and body at peace while on this journey. In this sense, mindfulness and addiction recovery go hand in hand.

Even when people leave treatment, half of them who do seek help end up relapsing within a year. Mindfulness is proven to calm the brain and help people focus on the present moment, and this can also help with relapse. Through mindfulness, many people recovering from addiction have found peace. You can, too, at CNV Detox in Los Angeles. 

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of being present and aware of your inner experiences and outside surroundings. You’re also aware of your responses to what’s going on around you right now. The ultimate goal of mindfulness is to be more aware without developing an attachment to what you’re experiencing.

Mindfulness isn’t hard to practice, but it does require discipline. It’s easy to get caught up in our thoughts; it’s difficult to be present and focus on the now. This is why it’s beneficial to practice mindfulness exercises like the raisin exercise. Here, you take a raisin and you spend your time looking at it, listening to it, smelling it, and eventually eating it. Another exercise is the body scan, which involves working through your body and feeling the sensations in each part of it. 

mindfulness and addiction

What Does Mindfulness Involve?

Mindfulness teaches the following skills:

  • Description: You’ll be able to say what happened and how you felt.
  • Taking a nonjudgmental stance: Instead of judging things, you’ll accept them as they are.
  • Observation: Learning to pay close attention to what’s happening around you. 
  • Effectiveness: You’ll do what works instead of second-guessing yourself.
  • Focusing on one thing at the moment: You won’t be distracted by other events or ideas.
  • Participation: You’ll learn how to participate in an activity without feeling self-conscious.

Core Practices of Mindfulness

Mindfulness can be practiced anywhere at any time. All you need is a willingness to open your mind to new ideas and make a change in your life. By following these five practices, you can set yourself up for success.

Be Present

This is the main object of being mindful. Most of us go about our days absorbed in our responsibilities or in the lives of those around us. Our minds are usually on other things, and rarely do we take a moment to just enjoy the “now.” We are usually stressed or anxious about things like work, school, or relationships. When we focus on these things, we tend to live our lives on autopilot.

When you’re present, you can realize your potential. You can recognize your surroundings and see how rich your life really is. 

Focus On Your Breath

While we focus on all these outside responsibilities and distractions, as well as the constant news cycle, we can get easily overwhelmed. This can lead to depression and even drug and alcohol abuse. 

A simple solution to this is focusing on your breath. You might not be able to control the things that happen to you, so focus on the things you can control, like your breath. Doing this will make you aware of your body’s healing powers to handle difficult emotions.

Recognize Your Thoughts For What They Are

Many times, your thoughts are just that—thoughts. However, they occupy a lot of time in our heads and can end up like background noise. We don’t always think about what they really are, but they are the reason why we do a lot of what we do. Even though we can believe that what we think is always true, that isn’t the case. We all have misconceptions and false beliefs once in a while.

Mindfulness can teach you how to recognize your thoughts for what they are while letting go of beliefs that work against us. 

Widen Your Circle of Compassion

When you’re mindful, you become more compassionate. Humans naturally want to connect with others; connections make us physically and mentally thrive. These bonds also let us see things from another point of view, thus making us more compassionate and empathetic.

Becoming empathetic and less judgemental lets us let go of stereotypes and prejudice. You don’t have to approve of everything that people do, but you can think in terms of “us,” not “them.”

Be Still

The last major practice of mindfulness involves simply being. We’re always doing things and engaging in activities, and this is valued in our society. We’ll feel like we have value when we’re busy and productive. However, there is real value in just being. It’s during these times when we discover our personal truths.

What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness?

Although mindfulness and addiction recovery can be combined for a successful recovery strategy, mindfulness on its own has several benefits. People who practice mindfulness find that they think more clearly and feel more at peace. Mindfulness can make you less judgemental and angry, and it can calm you down. 

Mindfulness can also help you own your moments, however good or bad they may be. It’ll help you focus more on what you want to achieve right now, instead of worrying about the past or the future. 

Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation is a core component of achieving mindfulness. This practice is all about concentrating on your breathing and clearing your mind. Even if you can’t totally drown out the thoughts in your heard, focusing on your breath can still be beneficial. Studies show that regularly practicing meditation can thicken the mid-prefrontal cortex and the mid-insular region of the brain. It can also help you quickly get into a state of concentration and awareness. 

How Do Mindfulness and Addiction Recovery Connect With Each Other?

There’s a positive relationship between mindfulness and addiction recovery. Everything you learn in with mindfulness can be applied to addiction recovery as well. 

When we’re feeling pain or we’ve experienced trauma, it’s tempting to do something to distract yourself. This can include anything from absentmindedly scrolling through your phone to turning to drugs and alcohol for comfort. Once you’ve spiraled into addiction, however, it’s difficult to just stop using substances. Even after you’ve entered recovery, you might find it hard to resist cravings for your drug of choice.

You’re Forced to Recognize the Moment

mindfulness and addiction

For one thing, mindfulness helps you slow down and not move constantly from activity to activity. When you learn to quiet your mind, you’ll achieve a state of calm that makes people normally turn to substances, but you won’t be tempted by that.

When you’re mindful, you can also enjoy notice sensory experiences that you don’t always notice. These can make life worth living, once you notice how beautiful the world really is. It’s in this state of mind that you’ll be less likely to turn to drugs and alcohol.

You’re Taught How to React

Mindfulness lets you understand how you react to certain situations. When you understand these and don’t get attached to them, you’ll find it easier to let go of things that previously bothered you. Participating in mindfulness and addiction recovery can help you identify triggers and let them pass through you when you encounter them. 

Recovery isn’t a destination; it’s a journey. As you enter treatment, learning how to be still can open your mind and your heart to your full potential. 

Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention

Mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) is a recent development in addiction recovery. This combines cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) with relapse prevention and mindfulness.

The following are components of MBRP:

  • Awareness of cravings and triggers
  • Mindfulness in high-risk situations and daily life
  • The role thoughts play in relapse
  • Social support and practicing mindfulness long term
  • How autopilot can lead to relapse
  • Taking care of yourself and leading a healthy lifestyle
  • Accepting what’s happening and acting skillfully

Through mindfulness-based relapse prevention, many patients have seen an improvement in their addiction recovery. Here, people become truly aware of their triggers, helping them navigate everyday life and especially difficult situations. 

Let CNV Detox Teach You Mindfulness

Our staff at CNV Detox believe that medication isn’t always necessary for a full recovery. Practicing holistic treatments like mindfulness and yoga can benefit you in recovery by treating your mind, body, and soul. We believe that this is a key ingredient in achieving a full recovery and maintaining sobriety years after you’ve left treatment. It can also help you in your everyday life when dealing with small challenges.

We have a host of different treatment programs that we can tailor to your individual needs. When you put your trust in CNV Detox, know that you’re in good hands. Finding treatment in the Los Angeles area can be difficult, but CNV Detox can make it easier. 

If you’re struggling with a substance use disorder, contact us today and learn more about our programs. We’d love to help you if you give us the chance. Call now and take your first step to quit drugs and alcohol for good. 

References:

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-mindfulness-21854

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-wise-open-mind/201004/mindfulness-meditation-addiction