If you have never tried mindfulness meditation, you may view it as some mystical eastern practice that is most suitable for monks living in caves. While it is true that this technique can be used as part of a spiritual path, it is also one of the most natural things in the world to do, and it can be of great value to people trying to escape drug addiction.
What is Mindfulness, and Why Should You Care?
“To be happy, to me, is to suffer less. If we were not capable of transforming the pain within ourselves, happiness would not be possible.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
If you acted on every thought and impulse that pops into your head, you would quickly find your life to be unmanageable. Luckily, you have the ability to dismiss some thoughts as irrelevant, or inappropriate, and not act upon them. This ability to be objective about what is happening inside of your brain is what mindfulness is all about.
One way that mindfulness can be of value to people dealing with drug addiction is it can make it easier to deal with cravings. You get to see that these impulses are harmless – like clouds passing through the sky – and they only become a problem if you resist them or entertain them. By being mindful, you are able to be more objective when cravings arise, and this makes you more effective at protecting your sobriety.
“You could think of mindfulness as wise and affectionate attention” – Jon Kabat Zinn
A lot of suffering in life is due to either regretting the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness teaches you to live in the present moment. It means that instead of always being lost in thought, you are present to experience your life in full.
Mindfulness and Emotional Sobriety
Becoming physically sober is a positive step, but it may not be enough to ensure a good life following drug addiction. A common reason for why people begin abusing these substances in the first place is their inability to handle their emotions. Unless you are able to develop some emotional sobriety (the ability to feel your feelings), you are going to be at risk of relapse or turning to new maladaptive strategies.
Mindfulness practice can strengthen your sobriety if you make it a part of your life. It is now becoming increasingly common for rehabs to offer mindfulness training as part of their programme. You should also be able to find classes available in your local area.