Addictions are a coping mechanism for stress and trauma and the originating causes of addiction may vary greatly. It might be an old trauma that needs healing or it can simply be the daily stresses of a complex life in a challenging world. In these examples, one cause, trauma, can be healed. However, the impact of the daily stresses of life can be reduced by healthy coping mechanisms. This reduction increases the probability of continuous sobriety.
Addicts are thought to be both mentally and bodily different from non-addicts. The differences of the body must be accepted as a permanent condition. The mind enables the individual to overcome addiction. It can also be harnessed as a powerful tool for coping with stresses. Unharnessed, the mind zooms in on the source of stress. It imagines the future involving the stress with the worst possible outcomes or spends tremendous focus imagining actions to avoid it. Well-intended by the mind, all of this attention has the effect of amplifying the source of the stress.
This highlights that the imagination of the mind often paints a worse picture than the reality of the experience. You can engage mindfulness to quiet the mind about life stresses. Mindfulness works because it does not ask the mind to stop imagining but gives it other focuses for its dreaming. The following are some exercises to explore:
- Engaging the senses: bring more of your attention to your senses by engaging touch, taste, sound, sight or smell. For example, if you worry about what will happen at work, look more deeply at the environment as you walk there. The deeper looking will consume some of the energy of worrying.
- Gratitude list: make a list of all that is good in your life. This can be done generally, or in relationship to a specific stressor. For example, if you are stressed about seeing your ex at a party, make a gratitude list of all the gifts of the relationship, of the break-up and other anticipated benefits of attending the party..
- Meditation: if repetitive thoughts are occurring during your practice, allow yourself to simply be with the thoughts without sinking deeply into them. Explore how you can lightly be with thoughts without being consumed by them.
If you are struggling with addiction, alcoholism, and/or mental health, know that there is hope. There is a solution. Harmoniously fusing together the best elements of clinical care, holistic healing, and 12-step philosophy, Enlightened Solutions has created a program of total transformation for men and women seeking recovery. Call 833-801-5483 today for information on our partial care programs in New Jersey.