How Can Mindfulness Help Us Prevent Relapse?

When we are struggling with addiction, we very often have not yet learned the important practice of mindfulness. Our addictive behaviors hinge on our lack of mindfulness. Rather than mindfully dealing with our thoughts and emotions, we bury them under distractions of all kinds. Our drugs and addictive behaviors turn our focus away from our inner selves, and we perpetuate an unconsciousness where we are numb, self-medicating and trying to escape our pain. Learning mindfulness can help us confront the issues fueling our addictions in the first place and can equip us to handle our addictive urges. Mindfulness can be the foundation for preventing relapse.

Mindfully addressing our issues means allowing ourselves to process them with acceptance rather than resistance. We choose to allow whatever comes up for us rather than trying to run from it. We grow in our awareness, we expand in our consciousness, and we learn things about ourselves we never would have learned if we had continued with our patterns of avoidance. Working through our issues head on means we finally do the important healing work that our addictions prevented us from doing. We’re uncovering layers of emotional pain that fueled our addictive behaviors. We soften the impact of our addictions in this way, and we reclaim our power from them. Our emotional issues no longer have to be the driving force behind our behaviors. Our thoughts and feelings don’t have to be dictated by our addictions. Mindfulness teaches us that we have more control over our minds and our emotions than we might have previously thought. We can heal the issues we once felt compulsively driven by.

Just as mindfulness helps us to heal the issues driving our addictions, it can also help us navigate the addictive urges and compulsions we may continue to feel tempted by. Giving up the substance or behavior that we’ve become mentally, emotionally, physically and chemically dependent upon might be one of the toughest things we’ll ever have to do. Once we’re able to break our dependence, we feel a sense of liberation. When the temptation first returns, we can feel scared, anxious, doubtful about our willpower, and pessimistic that we’ll relapse. Mindfulness helps us to sit with these emotions and move through them without acting on them. We learn to breathe through the panic and temptation rather than act on our impulses. Mindfulness helps us to practice thinking about the bigger picture, connecting with our intuition and strengthening our inner voice, helping us navigate the urges that tempt us and keeping us on track with our recovery.

The treatment programs at Riverside Recovery include mindfulness-based relapse prevention to help equip you with the skills you need to stay the course of your recovery long after you leave our facility. Call (800) 871-5440 today for more information.