When you first get sober, you may hear people at 12-step meetings talk about living in the present. But, what does it mean to live in the present? How can you be mindful of your present while still working towards the future?
Is Anxiety Or Worry Holding You Back?
Do you struggle with thoughts of the past or anxiety about the future? It’s normal to have these thoughts every once in a while. Life can be chaotic and hard to predict. However, COVID-19 changed the world, and humans, collectively, are learning to live new ideas of “normal.” In recovery, you too will struggle to find a path. That’s normal! However, anxiety or guilt are overwhelming feelings that interfere with healing for many people.
Living in the present can help you cope with these feelings and feel more positive about your future. After all, today, you are sober, and you are taking on new challenges! Just for today, your recovery comes first. Living in the present doesn’t mean giving up goals; it means taking your sobriety a day at a time.
Staying in the Present
You may find it challenging to stay in the present. After all, when you lived with active addiction, you probably lived a fast-paced life. The pursuit of your drug of choice was both a short and long-term goal. There is a lot of obsession and compulsion that can come with addiction.
How can you learn to focus on the present? Here are some things you can try:
- Go for a walk on the beach or down a quiet street alone, without looking at your phone or texting. (Put it in your pocket on mute.) As you walk, make a list in your mind of five things you hear, five things you see, what you feel and what you smell. Concentrate on these things as you walk, and try to remember them when you get home.
- Mindfulness is one method that people in recovery may turn to stay focused and centered. There are many websites and videos out there available to learn mindfulness techniques.
- Celebrate the small things! Every day in life, there are things to celebrate. Savor your favorite sandwich; enjoy your 15 minutes alone with your favorite playlist. Enjoy these moments.
- Cook a meal every week. We appreciate and savor our food more when we know how much work goes into it. So, why not create a meal you love and share it with your housemates. As you eat, take time to notice the spices or other ingredients you put into the meal. Stay present during the meal by engaging with your guests.
- Practice active listening when you’re having a conversation. Ask questions, and re-state what you have heard to show you understand what the other person means. (You can find videos about active listening on websites like Youtube.)
- Wear a rubber band around your wrist. When you think about your past life or negativity, snap the band. Now try mindfulness exercises or listen to music to re-ground yourself in the present.
Getting Help for Addiction
If you or somebody you love struggles with substance use, help is available! People from all walks of life struggle with drugs or alcohol. Recovery is possible! We’re here to answer any questions about detox and treatment. Give us a call to learn about our programs at 619-363-4767.
In recovery, you’ll learn a lot about coping skills. After all, you’ve spent a lot of time not coping if you’re addicted to a substance. Addiction probably took over your whole life. Now that you’re in recovery, you’ll learn more about your triggers and changing your behaviors. One method of coping with life on life’s terms is meditation.
Meditation has been practiced for centuries and has been studied extensively. Research shows that many forms of meditations are beneficial for people with anxiety and depression. Mediating can help you practice calmness and physical relaxation. Many people all over the world use it to cope with illness, mental health, and everyday stress.
Learning to meditate may seem difficult at first. After all, part of the process is merely sitting still and learning to live in the moment. There are many different methods of meditation and no one “right way” to meditate. It’s okay if you have trouble meditating. Learning to use it as a tool takes time, and like many parts of recovery, take what you need and leave the rest.
Exploring Meditation in Recovery
Breathing exercises can also help you learn to meditate. Focusing on your breath is a good way to calm your blood pressure and help you focus on stillness. Try breathing counting backward from the count of 10, slowly and deeply. With each breath, concentrate on how your body feels when you breathe. Concentrate on your core (belly) and how it feels when your lungs fill with air. Then pay attention to the sensations as you breathe out again. This is a great exercise to try when you are feeling stressed or anxious.
There are many types of meditation to explore. Mindfulness is one form of meditation that has become popular in the past few years. Using mindfulness can help you live in the moment and concentrate on your breathing and body sensations. There are also different types of meditation you can explore. See if your local community center offers classes or take a course online. There are many meditation tools online that you can study at your leisure. Videos and podcasts can help you learn.
Getting Help for Addiction
Addiction is a disease that is progressive and painful. Many people have been able to reclaim their lives and get on the path to recovery, but you can’t do it on your own. Get help and learn how to live without the use of substances. Learn more about your options by calling us at 619-363-4767.
For people in all stages of recovery, mindfulness can be an important tool for coping with stress. Stress is all around us, especially for those in early recovery. This is why mindfulness can be such a powerful tool. It requires us to take a moment to be present, and focus on things outside of ourselves.
In situations where a recovering person is tempted to get high or drunk, mindfulness can be a powerful tool that can help that person take a step back and focus on themselves and their recovery.
What is Mindfulness?
Mindfulness, is a practice that helps people become aware of their mental, emotional, and physical experience in the present moment. Through mindfulness, you can choose to experience the situation without being forced to react. Mindfulness can help you create a healthy responses to stress and any impulse to numb your emotions such as anxiety or emotional pain.
This coping tool is almost the opposite of addictive behavior in one important way; it prevents you from reacting in an impulsive way, even when you’re stressed out or upset. Stepping back from reactivity can help you make healthier decision or give you the strength to pick up the phone and get help when you’re feeling vulnerable.
How to Practice Mindfulness
First of all, it’s important to realize that stress is a natural response to challenges in your life in recovery. You may have problems with your family, finances or workplace. In recovery, you often need to meet these challenges head-on. Mindfulness can help you practice self-care when things are difficult or you’re feeling overwhelmed
Mindfulness is a very simple stress reduction practices that you can practice in any time or place. One of the easiest ways to practice is by paying attention to your breath. Feel it go in and out. Take deep, long breaths. As you do this, start to pay special attention to the sounds around you, any wind, the sensation of the sun on your face, and other parts of your environment. As you do this, let go of your fear or anger, and just let yourself “be” for several minutes. By doing this, you’re able to resist the natural “fight or flight” response that the body creates with stress, and reclaim calmness and relaxation.
Recovery is a Journey
If you or somebody you love is interested in getting started with recovery, but you’re not sure what you need to do, please give us a call. We’re available at 619-363-4767. All calls are 100% confidential.