When people are in the early months of recovery, they often experience a kind of mental fuzziness. They may struggle to think clearly as their mind adjusts to life without substance abuse. This is also a time when their emotions are erratic. Those who fail to cope with these challenges in early recovery are more likely to relapse. Mindfulness meditation can be a great tool at all stages of sobriety. It gives people more control over their emotions and increases mental clarity.
Mindfulness involves purposely paying attention to the present moment. It also involves being aware of thoughts, feelings, and emotions as they occur without being carried away by them. Mindfulness is a non-judgmental form of observation.
Mindfulness is known as sati in an ancient Pali (a language from India). It is a key tool for Buddhists who are trying to reach enlightenment and involves three elements: awareness, attention and remembering. The individual needs to be aware of the object they wish to focus on. They then need to focus their attention on this object and remember to keep it there.
There is substantial interest in the benefits of mindfulness for people recovering from an addiction. Those who become sober need to face many challenges, and any tool that can help them do this is of great value. These are some of the benefits of mindfulness meditation for people in recovery:
- Early recovery is like an emotional rollercoaster. By practicing mindfulness, the individual will feel more in control and better able to deal with the highs and lows.
- Cravings usually continue to arise in recovery. Mindfulness allows the individual to observe such thoughts without being carried away by them. People learn that they are not always responsible for their thoughts, nor do they have to be a victim to them.
- People who practice mindfulness will be better able to spot the warning signs that they are losing their hold on recovery. This way they will be able to avoid a relapse.
- This practice makes life in sobriety far more enjoyable. The individual is able to get pleasure from even the simplest things.
- Those who practice the technique find it easier to manage their interpersonal relationships. This is particularly important for people in recovery, who may have many damaged relationships and need to tread carefully.