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The Importance of Mindfulness in Addiction Treatment

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment. Many people associate mindfulness with practices like mindful meditation or yoga, however mindfulness can be practiced in a variety of simple ways. Essentially, practicing mindfulness is when you are attuned to your five senses. Focusing on your senses (sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound) is how to practice mindfulness.

Active Addiction

While in active addiction, many alcoholics and addicts are out of touch with the present moment. A great deal of time is spent finding and using drugs or alcohol, which is based around ruminating thought processes and planning future actions. In active addiction, addicts become very out of tune to the present moment, paying attention only to the process of getting and using alcohol or drugs. Addicts pay little attention to the present moment, and more attention to their future moments— like finding resources to score more drugs or alcohol, preparing for withdrawal symptoms that will occur soon after their last high, and coordinating with dealers or liquor stores.

Treating Addiction

Treating addiction requires detoxification, intensive therapies, substance use disorder education, therapeutic activities, replacing bad habits with healthy habits, learning coping skills, and learning a new way of life. Mindfulness facilitates addiction treatment, because we aim to restore and strengthen our guests connections between mind, body, and spirit. Mindfulness is helpful in allowing guests to stay present with their current emotions, which in turn will show them how to properly regulate emotions.

Often times, guests have little experience with staying in their emotional state and appropriately expressing their emotions. As alcoholics and addicts are used to turning to alcohol or drugs to alleviate undesirable emotions— they must learn a new way. This is where mindfulness comes in; recognizing how you feel in the current moment can only occur if you are being present in that moment.

How To Be Mindful

There are so many ways to be mindful. A couple of simple ways to practice mindfulness is by consciously incorporating mindfulness in your routine, like drinking a cup of coffee and staying aware of how each of your senses are being stimulated in that moment. Practice mindfulness the next time you are taking a walk outside, focus on the feeling of your feet hitting the grass or pavement, the way the sun looks as it’s shining through the leaves, the smell of the air, the sounds of the birds, etc. Practice mindfulness, no matter what you’re doing, by asking yourself these simple questions: What can you see? What can you smell? What can you hear? Can you taste anything? What can you feel?

Royal Life Centers at Spokane Heights encourages mindfulness, and we provide therapeutic activities that center around being mindful. Addiction treatment should always include the practice of being mindful in the present moment. We believe that the only way to heal is by being present in each moment during the recovery process. The moments endured in the recovery process will teach you about yourself, give you insight about how you feel and think, and teach you about the environment and those around you.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, please reach out to our addiction specialists for guidance and to learn about our treatment options. Call us toll free at (888) 907-0898. Our addiction specialists are available 24/7 to answer your call. Because We Care.

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