When you are in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction, the ability to incorporate mindfulness habits into your life can be a restorative process. Mindfulness helps you let go of your need to control circumstances through addictive behavior. Below are five ways to practice mindfulness in recovery. Many of these practices are taught in residential addiction treatment programs, but they will help you wherever you are.
1. Yoga – Yoga is a great way to practice mindfulness, especially for people who are in recovery. By focusing on the movement and sensations of your body in a peaceful setting, you can reconnect with your emotional and spiritual senses. Yoga offers clarity of mind by helping you to channel a deep inner peace and be restored to your full self. If you’re looking for a yoga guide, Taryn Strong is a certified ‘Yoga For Recovery’ teacher who hosts yoga retreats in British Columbia and destination retreats for people in recovery. She believes in yoga’s ability to help people recover spiritually and emotionally. Her program draws on a variety of principles, including the 12-step path to recovery, a popular model for addiction recovery that is used around the world. You can read more about Taryn and her current offerings at www.tarynstrong.com
2. Meditation – Mediation can be practiced alone or in a small group, but it is most effective in solitude. Yoga often incorporates meditative elements, but meditation itself is a spiritual and emotional exercise without a physical component. When you meditate, find a quiet place where you can sit uninterrupted for an extended amount of time and think. As you meditate, you may be confronted with negativity as thoughts of your past addictions surface; try focusing on the positive aspects of your life, such as loved ones, the beauty of the nature around you, or simply the calming sensation of silence. Daily meditation will help you become stronger in resisting your addiction and being restored to health.
3. Live in the moment – One of the greatest barriers to recovery is that we allow ourselves to be trapped in the mistakes of our past. Instead of focusing our minds and our energy on the present, we continually relive old experiences and perceive ourselves as the person we used to be. Focus instead on your surroundings and learn to appreciate your current circumstances. Enjoy the experience of spending time with friends and family, and don’t take the little things for granted, like a blooming flower or a delicious meal.
4. Breathe – This sounds like the simplest and most obvious step, but it’s surprising how hard it can be for us to slow down. Part of an addiction’s power is that it maintains a non-stop hold over us when we don’t know how to pace ourselves. Try breathing very intentionally for a few minutes. You will find that deep, slow breaths have a calming effect and will quickly cause you to consider what truly matters in your life.
5. Listen – When you are struggling with addiction, one of the problems is that you are not listening enough. You may have so much chatter going on in your head that you are oblivious to what is going on around you, and you aren’t willing to hear the people who are trying to help. When you are in recovery, this needs to stop. You need people around you who are speaking positive words of encouragement, and you need to get the distressing chatter out of your own head so that you can hear them. Listen to the good voices. Listen to what is happening around you in any given moment. Listening is about learning to be open, and this openness is one of the key ways to be mindful.
On your journey to recovery, make it your goal to be a more open and mindful person. At Cedars at Cobble Hill, we encourage everyone to practice these mindfulness techniques. Located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Cedars is the perfect tranquil setting for you to start on your road to recovery.