In moments when you’re feeling triggered or cravings to use, it can be difficult not to act on these impulses. The goal of recovery is to help you navigate these situations, because they will inevitably occur from time to time. Mindfulness is an amazing tool that doesn’t require any materials, only practice from what you’ve learned. By using mindfulness-based relapse prevention strategies, you can help lead yourself out of a situation that could potentially cause you to take a few steps back in your recovery.
Mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) is a program that teaches individuals to observe, without reacting to, the thoughts and urges they are experiencing, along with any physical discomfort. Oftentimes when we are not mindful, we give into whatever temptations are presented to us without considering the consequences or ways in which this action will affect us and others in a multitude of ways. Mindfulness gives us the opportunity to stop and breathe for a minute, recognizing that these thoughts and cravings are nothing more – and we must not give them that much importance and control.
A 2014 study published in the book Mindfulness-Based Treatment Approaches explored mindfulness as an alternative approach to treatment for individuals in their initial stages of abstinence in addiction recovery; researchers from the study concluded that MBRP leads to improved ability to respond to negative emotionality and cravings, ultimately reducing one’s use of substances. Here are a few examples of mindfulness-based strategies that you can begin trying today:
- Acknowledging the thoughts that you have by labeling them (ex. “There’s that ‘I’m not good enough’ story again!” or even simply thinking to yourself “relapse thought” or “self-critical thought”)
- Imagining the thoughts and urges that you have sitting on top of lily pads and flowing gently down a river
- Singing your thoughts and urges to a funny tune such as the “Happy Birthday” song in order to make the thoughts and urges seem less personal
- Saying distressing thoughts in your head in a funny voice, such as a character from a television show or cartoon, to help separate the personalization
If you haven’t already, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center to learn more about mindfulness and how it can become incorporated into your treatment regime. It’s never too late to begin your journey to recovery.
Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.