The Mindful Path from Addiction to Serenity

Mae Ramphung at Dawn

I’m putting together an eBook for people interested in using mindfulness to overcome addiction problems. I will be giving this book away for free on my website. I’ll also share the chapters on here as I write them. Here is part one

What is the Point?

If you don’t have a good enough reason to stay sober, you are always going to find doing so a struggle.

Perhaps the fear of losing your job or destroying your liver will be enough to convince you to quit in the short-term, but if life without drugs feels meaningless, even the fear of death might not be enough to keep you on track.

I tried for almost two decades to quit drinking. I could stop for a few weeks or months – I once even went two years – but these attempts were repeatedly sabotaged by this simple question – what is the point?

My escape from alcohol was always going to be precarious until I had a good response to this question.

I’m going to assume you drink or use drugs for a reason. There is a purpose behind your choices even if you struggle to understand how things ended up so messy.

It isn’t that you are mad or bad. I bet the drugs seemed to do something wonderful for you in the beginning – just like alcohol did for me.

I doubt you would have chosen this path if things felt suitably satisfying – why would you? Something has been missing from your life, and it was this that drove you to look for a way out.

Quitting an addiction isn’t that difficult. I’ve done it hundreds of times, and I’m sure you have had at least periods where you clean/sober for a day or two. It’s not the stopping that’s the problem but the staying stopped.

Even ‘normal ‘people can struggle when it comes to making major changes to their lives. You need a compelling reason to make these changes – it needs to be more than just fear of negative consequences.

I bet if your new life is full of purpose and meaning, you won’t have any reason to get intoxicated. If you felt comfortable in your own skin, you would no longer have any need to escape.

You would have your compelling answer to the question – what is the point?

How I Found the Point of Staying Sober

The thing I loved most about alcohol was how it made me feel numb to the world. It meant that I could escape the mess in my head – all the fear, self-loathing, and disappointment.

I wasn’t wrong to want to escape this inner-turmoil as my life felt pointless because of it. I had good intentions when I started using alcohol, but this chemical just wasn’t capable of giving me with what I needed.

But even after it became painfully obvious that alcohol was no miracle cure, I reasoned that it was still better than nothing.

I lost a lot because of addiction, but I still struggled to stay sober for as long as I didn’t have a better strategy for dealing with my thoughts and feelings.

I hit my first rehab at age 19, and I was still trying to quit sixteen years later. In-between, I’d had mental breakdowns, ended up homeless, destroyed friendships, and lost countless opportunities.

Despite having so many good reasons to quit, I just couldn’t make it happen because being sober didn’t offer what I needed back then.

It wasn’t until I made mindfulness a part of my life that I was able to break free of addiction for good. It gave me what I’d been looking for all along, and there is no longer any need to drink alcohol.

I want to share with you my experience of replacing addiction with mindfulness. The difference it has made to my life is miraculous and perhaps a similar transformation could happen with you too.

Other Posts in This Series
Part 2 – Why Mindfulness Makes the Perfect Replacement for Addiction
Part 3 – How Mindfulness Works
Part 4 – Mindfulness versus Addiction Cravings
Part 5 – Mindfulness for the Ups and Downs in Recovery – Part 1
Part 6 – Mindfulness for the Ups and Downs in Recovery – Part 2
Part 7 – How to Mindfully Find Your Life Purpose – Part 1
How to Mindfully Find Your Life Purpose – Part 2

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4 thoughts on “The Mindful Path from Addiction to Serenity

  1. Very lucid introduction Paul, clarity abounds, and your final line ‘perhaps a similar transformation could happen with you too.’ gives me great hope this morning, cant wait for next installment. Hope = the opposite of despair. Im only a few days off the drink and am fairly strung out, no sleep etc., this is just what i needed to read right now. Ive learned a little bit about mindfulness and meditation in the past 2 years and find it wonderful (when it works, doesnt always stop the racing mind) but its brought me to the point where if like a few weeks ago, i had a sober day, sunshine, my dog and a few fields to wander about in, i can be so mindful, aware, satisfied, humbled, grateful, and very very happy and hopeful, i think that when im being good im getting much much better, but when i mess up these days, i mess up spectacularly, im either getting better or getting worse depending on my actions, staying still isnt an option, even though its very cosy & tempting, anyway, i digress ha ha, thank you for this article, hopefully the start of a series that has already helped me this morning, onwards & upwards, thanks Paul

    1. Hi Shane thanks a million for the encouragement. I think sometimes it’s hard to see just how much mindfulness is benefiting us. It is only really when I’ve been mindless for a few days that I really notice the difference – it is like coming home.

  2. Great heading Paul, I have found that my Awareness with Mindfulness tied in has the best Tool Ive discovered after 43 years of Addiction .
    I must say that i have sort of used it as a healthy addiction and am inspired to be present from when i wake up to every minute of the day .
    I experienced an amazing day yesterday in my garden , After 8 hours of planting trees and general garden work i stood and reflected on my day , Only to have realised that i actually didn’t think much at all . It was very rewarding and satisfying like never before .
    The old me would be doing it for an instant result with my mind not even focused . I still have that impregnated Train and Platform picture wired into my brain ? Thoughts are only thoughts as you said …. Thank you and keep me advised on your posts . cheers Phil

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