“Mindfulness is about being fully aware of whatever is happening in the present moment, without filters or the lens of judgment.” – Stahl & Goldstein, 2010. A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook.
Because addiction is a mental illness riddled with self-sabotaging defense mechanisms used to distract from, escape and avoid the present moment, learning to sit with feelings and experiences is crucial to successful recovery. In fact, therapeutic practices in recovery – i.e., individual counseling, process groups, couples and family counseling – require individuals to sit with surfacing emotions, cognitions and past experiences in an effort to heal.
Mindfulness is a practice which extends that therapeutic experience – being fully present – from a one-hour session to a lifelong application. The benefits are numerous, but for the sake of simplicity, I’ll highlight five: