Many of us living with addiction were genetically predisposed to it. We were raised in families where addiction ran rampant. We inherited traits and learned emotional patterns that conditioned us for addiction. Could we have stopped our addiction before it took hold? Is there a way to halt addiction in its tracks, before it gets the better of us?
When analyzing some of the biggest contributors to addiction, we have to look at how we handle our emotions. Many of us learn to suppress our feelings, thinking that they will hold us back in life and keep us from accomplishing our goals. We choose to focus our energy on these goals, and all our daily logistics and responsibilities. We give more attention to our relationships than to our own well-being. We neglect the emotions beneath the surface of our daily lives. When our emotions are painful and threatening our peace, we haven’t learned how to handle them. We haven’t had any practice expressing, processing or communicating our emotions because we’ve been practicing suppressing them. We avoid them at all costs. We distract ourselves from them, with relationships, with fun, with anything that takes our mind off our pain.
What if we were to stop these emotional patterns before they became second nature? Mindfulness helps us to be more consciously aware of our feelings. When we are mindful, we allow ourselves to feel our emotions rather than trying to avoid them. We learn healthier ways of dealing with our feelings, such as meditation, journaling and creative expression. We learn to breathe through the pain, which keeps it from totally overtaking us. When we have a healthier relationship to our emotions, we’re less likely to need addictive substances and behaviors as coping mechanisms. We learn healthy, mindful ways of coping instead. When we are mindful, we’re more intentional about cultivating inner peace. We’re less likely to want to cause ourselves emotional distress. When we are mindful, we’re less apt to be self-destructive.
Practicing mindfulness is a powerful way to develop healthier habits that can help us counteract the strong forces of addiction we have to contend with, within ourselves and in our families. Many of us are introduced to mindfulness as a way to heal from depression, anxiety and other mental health issues. It is sometimes a last resort after we’ve tried more traditional methods, such as medication or therapy but are still struggling. What if instead of waiting until we were in crisis to practice mindfulness, we started incorporating it into our daily lives from a younger age? Chances are we might be able to stop addiction before it starts.
Mindfulness is an important component of the treatment programs at Riverside Recovery. Let us help you get back the life you love. Call (800) 871-5440 for more information.