Learning to pay attention to the moment while also cultivating a nonjudgmental stance towards self sounds pretty ideal to an addict in recovery, right? Individuals experiencing addiction, past or present, often find themselves “stuck” in certain patterns or behaviors, sometimes not even realizing their “stuckness”. With obsessive, compulsive and self-centered thinking tendencies, addicts can easily get caught in a whirlwind of thoughts keeping them trapped in the past or future. Addiction is a disease that relies on you feeling shame about the past and fear of the future, so what if addicts could become more in touch with the present? Better yet, what if the present was enjoyable or at least just ok?
Mindfulness is a practice that can help all people learn to be in the moment while simultaneously accepting whatever that moment is. Key word: Practice! Nobody wakes up one day floating a few inches off of the ground, feeling 100% mindful. Mindfulness is more of a process and a way of life than a destination we arrive to.
One thing that helps individuals become more in touch with their practice of mindfulness is becoming aware of when they feel mindlessness. When do you feel like you’re going through the motions? When have you lost track of time while doing some type of task? When do you feel you have acted on an impulse? It happens to all of us, and learning to recognize these times is important because it gives us an opportunity to notice. When we notice, we can become empowered to change. We cannot change something if we are not aware we are doing it in the first place. Noticing a moment of mindlessness is essentially an opportunity to reground and reconnect to ourselves. The more we practice that shift, the more accessible it becomes. This can be done via mantra, breathing technique, anchoring, meditation, movement and so on; the possibilities are literally endless. Exploring different techniques to find what you enjoy can be a fun part of your own mindfulness journey!