Mindfulness in Addiction
An Addict’s Focus Why do people become addicts in the first place? They, addicts, report many reasons, some of which may seem logical and others not, but there is always some underlying cause. While in the pursuit of recovery, past attempts and failures to stay sober, can generate significant anxiety and feelings of shame / hopelessness. While this is significant to address and process, these thoughts and feelings can often distract from the opportunity to engage in the here and now.
Our professionals at Akua Mind & Body have seen many addicts come through treatment feeling that their past defines their future in recovery. This is why focusing on experiencing thoughts and feelings, in treatment, as they arise in the present moment enables one to engage in an authentic relationship with their own inner world.
What is Mindfulness? Mindfulness enables clients to strengthen experiencing their authenticity in the present moment. Being present can be difficult because it is a process that is not often valued in Western culture. We are taught from the time we are young to reach for our future and use the past as a motivator to help create a better future. People fail in this when the present is completely forgotten, even though it is the most important part of the equation. We don’t live in the past or the future, we only live in this moment. So, using the here and now, every single moment of the day, actually does create a better future. For addicts, that focus can lead to a sober life.
What Does a Mindfulness Plan Look Like at Akua? Although mindfulness sounds like a simple process, it can be difficult for addicts to adjust their lives to its practice. To make sure that the clients at Akua understand the benefits and how they can work this treatment program, a three step process has been developed.
1. Psychoeducation: Therapist’s at Akua Mind and Body focus on educating clients on how to sit with their authentic thoughts and feelings. This may include learning skills such as centering thoughts, sensory awareness, semantic responses, deep breathing and reducing rapid thinking and anxiety. From here clients will have the tools to engage in mindfulness practices which focus on the present moment, which can be difficult and painful at times, because drugs and alcohol are used to escape those thoughts and feelings.
2. Provide Mindfulness Practice: After the client knows what mindfulness is and how it can help them in recovery, they have a safe space where they can apply these skills. This is done in individual sessions with counselors and during groups with peers. These sessions engage clients through different methods such as yoga, breathing exercises and meditations. The client can then discuss their experiences with a counselor and peers and gain valuable insights.
3. Reflection: A reflection of experiences in mindfulness provides opportunities for clients to more deeply integrate mindfulness skills. The client provides feedback to themselves and others on the process and look at what mindfulness methods are helping them stay in the here and now. This process can help clients to show up in the world more fully and greet recovery on a daily basis.
When mindfulness becomes an acquired skill clients will feel empowered to face the daily challenges of recovery. At Akua Mind & Body, we teach our clients to practice mindfulness every day, in every situation. Temptations and negative thoughts will happen, but the client has to know that they are stronger than those temporary events. By practicing and reflecting constantly, the client makes the practice a part of themselves. Mindfulness, using a present focus, is more than just another tool, it is an essential structure that leads to a lasting sobriety,