Meditation, mindfulness, breath practice, CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), all of these practices have something in common—they can help people break out of bad patterns and habits. In fact, all of these practices are based on the same idea, which is that we can ultimately choose our own behavior. In life, and in addiction counseling, this is a highly freeing idea. Many addicts can feel as if they are prisoners to their own compulsions, but this is far from the truth.
What is Mindfulness Meditation?
As of 2019, meditation needs no marketing. It is the beloved practice of people who are spiritual as well as rigidly scientific. Whether you are a materialist, or you are religious, meditation has a certain secular appeal and well-studied benefits. Prominent neuroscientists of our day are fascinated with the practice and have found a litany of benefits ascribed to it that are demonstrably valid.
While there are differences between mindfulness meditation, insight meditation, and many, many other practices. The basic technique is the same:
Sit for a period of time and concentrate on your breathing. Any time a thought or feeling comes up, simply note it and refocus back on your breathing.
You must be thinking, that's it? What good will that do? And there's the problem, you are too beholden to your thoughts. Many people rationalize excuses for why they can't sit for 5 minutes and avoid doing anything, but the inability to do so is the issue itself. Our mind, whether we realize it or not, is constantly racing and attaching to thoughts and rejecting others. This is exhausting but also leads to people being stuck in faulty patterns.
When you slow down and allow yourself to observe your thoughts without judgment, as if you were someone else, you begin to see these patterns. Pattern recognition is the first step to breaking habits, and addictions are nothing if not a bad habit when put in the simplest terms possible.
Mindfulness Meditation and Addiction Counseling
Addiction counseling is a vital part of recovery and preventing relapse, however, it may come as no surprise that relapses don't happen in the presence of counselors in most cases. They happen in between sessions when something triggers you, or you're feeling hounded by the pressures of life. It is in these moments a solid meditation practice can pay off. Being able to get out of your own head and observe the spiraling thoughts, excuses, and rationalizations that can all lead you to relapse can give you just enough mental space to wait the temptation out until a subsides a bit in intensity.
Just as important, viewing your thoughts objectively and observing the feelings that come up can illuminate just how much you beat yourself up. Almost all addicts feel some sense of guilt and shame when it comes to addiction, and those emotions—while valid to feel, are not helpful to recovery. It's important to recognize that feeling guilt or shame is perfectly human, but needlessly dwelling on them is not healthy.
Someone who practices mindfulness meditation every day will be better equipped to step out from the chain of thoughts that lead to unnecessary anxiety and self-loathing, both of which are common relapse triggers.
Addiction Counseling in Virginia
Whatever the problem may be, Recovery Care Partner is here for you. Our methods are rooted deeply in compassion and non-judgment. We have seen a countless amount of people come in at the lowest points in their lives, afraid, and without hope, and have learned ways to manage their substance use disorder. It's okay to be susceptible to addiction; it's not okay to do nothing about it. That's why Recovery Care Partner was founded, to help those who suffer from addiction DO something about it. We want to be your partner all of the way through the process!
Don't hesitate to contact us here and start a new life today!