To be mindful, according to the dictionary, is to be “conscious or aware of something”. Mindfulness is a practice of awareness. Becoming consciously aware of our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and more can help us be more present in life. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress, alleviate symptoms of depression and enhance recovery efforts from mental illnesses such as substance use disorders. Many treatment centers and programs are including mindfulness based treatment methods as part of the core curriculum for treatment. Thousands of scientific studies are showing that mindfulness provides realistic results for patients who practice it. Practicing mindfulness can be done through yoga, meditation, or simply bringing more attention to every day activities.
Mindfulness Takes Practice
For recovery, mindfulness is a critical practice. All of recovery begins with a bit of mindfulness, whether or not someone is aware of it. In fact, it is awareness which starts recovery. At some point in the bottom end of someone’s drinking and using they have to become aware that they have a problem, or, at least, that something about they way they are living is no longer sustainable. It might seem that such an awareness would be obvious. Unfortunately, many people force themselves into blindness when it comes to their problems with drugs and alcohol. Denial can put up blinders of steel when it comes to addiction and alcoholism. Often it is said that the first step to solving any problem is admitting there is a problem. That admittance requires awareness. We have to stop being consumed by our substances of choice to become aware that we are being consumed by our substances of choice. Many people describe this moment as if waking up from a dream or prolonged sleep. Mindfulness brings people to understand that there is another way from the way they have been living. Without that conscious awareness of themselves and their situation they might never find the willingness it takes to get into action.
Tools for Coping
After getting sober, mindfulness serves as a tool for recognizing sabotaging behaviors. Managing a new library of feelings, behaviors, and decisions can be overwhelming. Mindfulness is a way to bring calm to the chaos and create order out of disruption. For co-occurring mental health issues like depression and anxiety, mindfulness helps people realize that their feelings are transitory and will not last permanently. Rather than be fixed to the moment with a cement block, mindfulness opens us up to the flow of life. Living life on life’s terms is the biggest challenge in recovery.
Aurora Recovery Centre is a dual diagnosis treatment program dedicated to healing mind, body, and spirit. Our residential treatment programs are designed to support both substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders through one individualized program. For more information, call 844-515-STOP.