Incorporating mindfulness into your life

Using mindfulness with addiction treatment?


So there is this thing out there called third-wave therapies, which are these new types of treatments that include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Mindfulness-based Thearpy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, etc. And with this new onslaught of treatments, we’re starting to see new ways of treating things that have long been known about. Case in point: Addiction!

The first thing to note, especially for those who have tried mindfulness before, is that it’s not a do-it-once and feel better kind of thing. It’s a practice. As the therapist says in the article,

At first, becoming more mindful can be uncomfortable, Christine advises. Particularly for an addict, sitting quietly with oneself and experiencing feelings without reacting can be intimidating.

It’s not always going to be easy, but what it also does is that…

Through mindfulness practice, people learn that thoughts and feelings arise and may create discomfort, but they also pass.

These ideas can be particularly useful during cravings and periods of relapse, if and when they come.

When people realize their thoughts do not define who they are, that they don’t have to do everything their minds tell them to do, a world of options opens up that they didn’t even know they had.

If you find that you are someone who has saught traditional 12-step treatment or a different type of treatment all together, this might be an option. Mindfulness is something that you can incorporate into any other type of treatment and is not necessarily a treatment on it’s own, but is a tool that can be added to your repertoire. And if you’re a clinician, think about incorporating some of these ideas into your work. I think they said it best in my Psychotherapy and Mindfulness class (click here and here for previous posts), the best way for a clinician to explain mindfulness is through their own practice and experience.

I know how much resistance there is out there towards mindfulness. Some people think it’s a religious thing. Some people think that it’s going to make things worse. Some people don’t think that they can sit in one place for so long. There are tons of excuses, but truthfully, it’s something that just gets easier with time. I say that through personal experience. I started meditating a couple years ago and I first started with just one minute (if that). I gradually added time as I noticed I didn’t feel as uncomfortable sitting there. Now I’m able to sit in my space for 15-20 minutes, depending on the day and how much stuff I have going on. What I don’t do though is make this another chore that I feel like I have to do it because that will just make it more difficult for me to sit there quietly. I do as much as I can withstand in any given day. There are times where I meditate for 15 minutes and my mind doesn’t let go of the chatter and that’s ok. It won’t always be some transcendental moment that everyone thinks will come. Some days I only do 5 minutes and some days I do more, but the key is consistency and the more consistent you become, the better and easier it is. This has been true in my life and I know it can be in yours.

I will make a comment for some people and especially those with severe depression, mindfulness may not be the best tool, but as things improve, it might be something worth exploring with your therapist.

Share your thoughts! I’m curious, have you tried mindfulness practice before? How’d it go? Easier or harder than you thought? Did you think it was a useful tool? I’d love to hear your tips!

Rubin Khoddam, PhD Clinical Psychology student at University of Southern California, founder of Psych Connection.

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Categories: Addiction Connection, Articles, Mindfulness, Therapy

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10 replies


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