Recovery Connections

John Schwary is CEO of Transitional Living Communities, a 850-bed recovery program he founded in Mesa, Arizona January 9, 1992 when he had a year sober. He's in his 27th year of recovery.

In these posts, he views life mostly through the lenses of recovery. While the blog is factual, he sometimes disguises events and people to protect anonymity.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Mindfulness

Over the past months we've brought mindfulness meditation into the TLC Outpatient program. And clients have reacted well.

And we hope to offer it to the halfway house clients by the end of the year.

So what's the big deal about mindfulness? And what's it about? Isn't it just another woo-woo Eastern practice?

The definition of mindfulness is "fully aware of present experience - with acceptance."

And many clients say they already are aware of present experience with acceptance. But studies show otherwise. One showed that 47% of the time our mind is somewhere other than in this moment.

Much of the time we're regretting the past. Or somewhere off in the future. Fantasizing about something fun. Instead of being in this precious present moment. Which is the only time we have.

So why not escape painful thoughts? Move mentally to a more pleasant state of mind?

Part of it is because we never escape the unpleasant.  We only perceive reality in this moment. Therefore we escape nothing.

Nor do we experience future pleasure in this moment. That doesn't happen. It's fantasy.

What happens in the moment is reality, the grist of our lives. We can't escape. It's part of our human fabric.

Mindfulness helps by allowing us to see the thought stream. Mindfulness allows us to look at these thoughts without judgement. To accept them just as they are. We see them. Then we let them float away like bubbles on a stream - with acceptance. And after a certain time our brains rewire. We stop being so reactive to thoughts.  They're just thoughts, they're not reality.

Thousands of studies over the past 30 years show the positive results of mindfulness practice. They're all over the internet.

Click this link to read more on how mindfulness impacts relapse prevention.

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