“To see our own mind clearly, without being caught up in its movement, to watch thought without trying to do anything with or about it, simply seeing it and letting it go, this is the way to freedom from … [suffering]”
Luangpor Teean (The One Who Feels)
Do you still sometimes struggle with life despite the fact that you have quit alcohol or drugs? Do you have periods of depression or anxiety? Do you have the suspicion that some key ingredient is missing from your sobriety? If the answer to any of these questions is ‘yes’, you may want to consider mindfulness as a solution.
Even after I could accept how alcohol was destroying my life, I still struggled to change. The remorse for bad behavior, the fear of failing health, and the inner-turmoil created by my addiction, would be enough to convince me to quit for a few weeks or months (once I even went two years) but always this simple thought would sabotage my efforts – what is the point?
For almost two decades, I just didn’t have an adequate response to the question ‘what is the point?’ This is why I kept returning to alcohol. So long as my life felt meaningless, what did it matter if I died before my time? If I still felt uncomfortable in my own skin, what was the point in staying sober?
Mindfulness allowed me to see how everything I needed to be happy was already there in my life. It is this that has given my life meaning, and allowed me to develop a level of serenity I never knew was possible.
There are a number of ways mindfulness can strengthen your sobriety such as:
• Manage any lingering cravings
• Stress management
• Anger management
• Prevent and manage the symptoms of depression
• Manage anxiety
• Increased creativity
• An improved ability to enjoy your life
• Improved quality of life
• Improved focus and concentration
• Improved relationships
I have used mindfulness as my primary recovery tool, but it can also mesh well with other approaches such as the 12-steps, Smart Recovery, or CBT.
I am a mindfulness teacher (mindfulness program manager) and addiction nurse specialist at Hope Rehab. I am also a member of the International Nurses Society on Addictions. I’m able to accept a limited number of clients for sessions via Skype. If you would like to find out more about this service, you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org