Mindfulness for Addictions
There is a growing body of research to show that mindfulness, as taught in an adapted 8-week course, (Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention or MBRP), for people with issues around addictive substances, can be of huge benefit, decreasing both cravings and negative emotions, the two main predictors of relapse.
Part of this process involves using mindful awareness to develop the ability to acknowledge how things are for us in the present moment and to accept them as best we can without reaching for substances to change the way we feel. This skill gives us the ability to step back and make informed choices, rather than automatically reacting, and leads to less drug and alcohol relapse. As Victor Frankl (1946) said "between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response, and in that response lies our growth and our freedom".
This ability to be with things just as they are can be extended to the experience of craving and urges. During the course, participants learn to notice their cravings and urges, as temporary experiences that we can meet with curiosity and acceptance, without being completely wiped out by them. Paradoxically, this ability to be with cravings and urges deprives them of their power and the hold they can have over us. This 'Urge Surfing' is a key skill taught on the course and one that we can practice in the safe environment of the group in order to build resilience and form new habits.
Mindfulness is also proven to reduce the tendency of the mind to exacerbate negative emotional states, thus preventing low moods from triggering depression. This tendency can also help with feelings associated with stigma, shame, blame and guilt which often accompany addictive behaviours.
Click here to check when our next 8-week MBRP course is running.