How Mindfulness Aids In Addiction Recovery

By David Sack, MD

For many of us, daily life is about “going through the motions.” How often do you drive from point A to point B without remembering how you got there?

Are you able to focus on one activity at a time or are you a multi-tasker who juggles five things at once?

Modern life is not always conducive to staying in the present moment, but as we are learning in the addiction field, the practice of mindfulness can bring greater joy into daily life and also help recovering addicts guard against relapse.

Increasingly, the field is embracing Eastern practices, including mindfulness meditation, as an adjunct to traditional addiction treatments.

Mindfulness vs. Addiction

Mindfulness, which has its roots in Buddhism, involves a purposeful and nonjudgmental focus on one’s feelings, experiences, and internal and external processes in the present moment. Rather than escape from painful feelings, mindfulness meditation encourages addicts to sit quietly with themselves and pay close attention to their thoughts and feelings without taking action to judge or “fix” them.

It is not about apathy or suppression of feelings, but rather the freedom to experience the full range of feelings and strategically choose how to respond.

Like yoga, tai chi and related practices, mindfulness is a portable skill that can become a regular part of the recovering addict’s life, both during and after treatment. It takes only a few minutes and can be done by anyone anywhere, and its effects are long-lasting.

A Life Skill with Wide Applicability

Mindfulness-based therapy has been used for a variety of ailments, including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, physical illnesses and addiction, but its usefulness extends even further. Mindfulness can be applied to every area of life, including the most mundane daily tasks like house cleaning, taking a walk or eating a meal. Even decades into recovery, mindfulness is a way to stay fully invested in life.


Related Online Continuing Education Course:

Mindfulness: The Healing Power of Compassionate Presence

Mindfulness: The Healing Power of Compassionate Presence This course will give you the mindfulness skills necessary to work directly, effectively and courageously, with your own and your client’s life struggles. Compassion towards others starts with compassion towards self. Practicing mindfulness cultivates our ability to pay intentional attention to our experience from moment to moment. Mindfulness teaches us to become patiently and spaciously aware of what is going on in our mind and body without judgment, reaction, and distraction, thus inviting into the clinical process, the inner strengths and resources that help achieve healing results not otherwise possible. Bringing the power of mindful presence to your clinical practice produces considerable clinical impact in the treatment of anxiety, depression, PTSD, chronic pain, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, colitis/IBS, and migraines/tension headaches. The emphasis of this course is largely experiential and will offer you the benefit of having a direct experience of the mindfulness experience in a safe and supportive fashion. You will utilize the power of “taking the client there” as an effective technique of introducing the mindful experience in your practice setting. As you will learn, the mindfulness practice has to be experienced rather than talked about. This course will provide you with an excellent understanding of exactly what mindfulness is, why it works, and how to use it. You will also develop the tools that help you introduce mindful experiences in your practice, and how to deal with possible client resistance.

Course #60-75 | 2008 | 73 pages | 27 posttest questions

Customer Reviews:

“This was the best online ceu I have ever taken! Wow! Great stuff. Thank goodness I printed it out. I will start using it tomorrow. Thank you.” – M.C. (MFT)

“Great course, excellent reference materials and loads of practical exercises!” – L.O. (Social Worker)

“Nice integration of case examples with the course material.” – A.B. (Psychologist)

“One of the BEST courses I have EVER taken!!! GREAT Learning!!” – L.M. (Psychologist)

Learn More: