Mindfulness & Meditation
Mindfulness & Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation are both extremely important to long-term addiction recovery. Mindfulness refers to a state of mental awareness that is frequently utilized in meditative practices. Mindfulness teaches people how to live in the present moment and to acknowledge how they are feeling without judgement. In recent times mindfulness has been incorporated into addiction treatment programs as an important element of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Meditation is the art of quieting the mind and focusing on one’s inner awareness in order to achieve mental clarity and emotional stability.
At Immersion Recovery Center we utilize both mindfulness and meditation as part of our treatment program, teaching our clients how to identify uncomfortable emotions as they arise and effectively work through them. By combining the two techniques we teach our clients to stay grounded in the present moment, calm difficult emotions, slow down reactivity and overcome cravings.
Mindfulness & Addiction Treatment
The concept of mindfulness is not difficult to grasp, though engaging in mindfulness does take self-discipline and practice. Most people who struggle with addiction have a tendency to get mentally caught up on past events or constantly fret over the future. Staying stuck in the past leads to depression, low self-esteem and feelings of regret and shame, all of which can be detrimental to sobriety. Worrying about the future leads to anxiety, and paying adequate attention to the task-at-hand becomes challenging. Mindfulness teaches clients how to remain present and take things in stride. There are many ways that mindfulness benefits sobriety.
Benefits of Practicing Mindfulness
- Mindfulness helps quiet the mind and reduce the racing thoughts that can eventually lead to relapse – When you first get sober it isn’t uncommon to fall victim to your own thoughts. While actively using chemical substances the voices in your head are usually quieted and numbed out. As soon as you get sober, they come back full force. It is important to learn how to quiet this chatter and stay focused and calm.
- Mindfulness helps you pay closer attention to the beauty of the world around them – After weeks, months or years of numbing your senses, you will start to notice that you are actually enjoying the small things — the breeze on your face, the smell of the fresh air, the sound of children playing. Many people start using drugs and alcohol because they feel the world is an unpleasant place to be. Mindfulness helps you appreciate the world around you while actively noticing its beauty.
- Mindfulness helps you to enjoy the present moment – When people turn to drugs and alcohol it is often because they are unhappy, and they are either looking for a form of escapism or for some way to derive a sense of pleasure out of life. Mindfulness helps you enjoy life for its own sake, which makes you far less likely to seek pleasure from addictive chemical substances. When you enjoy the life you are living, there is nothing to escape from.
- Mindfulness helps you pay attention to the ways in which you react to the world around you – By nature, we tend to be very reactive people. We aren’t used to sitting back and honestly evaluating how we feel before we react to something. This can easily lead to angry outbursts, remorse or resentment. The more comfortable you get with mindfulness, the more capable you will be of simply letting things go or reacting calmly.
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Meditation & Addiction Treatment
Meditation can be defined as a set of techniques that are used to heighten awareness, focus attention and improve psychological well-being. Meditation has been used for thousands of years and finds its roots in Eastern medicine, though in recent times it has become a fundamental component of many treatment programs throughout the U.S. While many people equate meditation with a religious practice, it has (somewhat recently) become an effective and evidence-based psychotherapeutic technique as well. At Immersion Recovery Center we believe that meditation is an important part of relapse prevention training.
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Types of Meditation
At Immersion Recovery Center we use two primary forms of meditation, but may introduce others from time to time. The two main methods of meditation we use are concentrative meditation and mindfulness mediation.
Concentrative meditation – This type of meditation involves focusing on one thing while attempting to tune everything out. Concentrative meditation might involve the repetition of a specific mantra like, “I am enough,” or, “I am sober.” It might involve focusing on the breath or listening to an instrument like a gong or a sound bowl.
Mindfulness meditation – This type of meditation involves becoming completely aware of the present moment and taking note of current surroundings. This type of meditation is most commonly used in an addiction treatment setting. It is a fundamental component of mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and mindfulness-based stress reduction.
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Meditation & The 12 Steps
Meditation is also an important part of the 12-Step program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Immersion Recovery Center is a 12-Step immersion program, meaning that in addition to behavioral therapy, we focus on the 12 Steps and the principles behind these steps. The 11th Step as outlined in Alcoholics Anonymous reads, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”
What is the purpose of this Step? The purpose is to continue building a solid foundation for a fulfilled, sober life while continuing to bolster a spiritual connection. Engaging in a spiritual practice every day helps you work towards stability, emotional regulation and a more positive way of thinking overall. Some people might be hesitant to complete this step because of the inclusion of the word “God,” or because the word “prayer” has undeniable religious connotations. At Immersion Recovery Center we teach our clients to approach the 11th Step with an open mind, understanding that they are not being asked to pray to a religious God; rather they are utilizing meditation as a way to connect to their own sense of self and inner spirit.
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Healing Mind, Body & Soul
Immersion Recovery Center offers a truly unique experience by combining the latest advances in evidence based clinical and medical care with a fully immersive 12-Step model and holistic healing. We have taken the best parts of traditional 12-Step treatment and combined them with the highest standards of clinical and medical care to offer our clients the best tools for long-term recovery. We offer a three phase approach to treating substance use disorder which offers individuals a full pathway for healing. To learn more about our recovery program and how we incorporate mindfulness and meditation, contact us today.