Can Mindfulness Prevent Relapse?

Only one, small thing can prevent relapse. Every single day, those who are in recovery have a an opportunity at a “daily reprieve”. A reprieve is a postponement of a punishment. Daily, those in recovery have the change to postpone the punishment which would be caused by a relapse. That reprieve comes from carrying out a series of practices and decisions to stay sober. The most important of those practices is making the  simple decision not to pick up a drink or a drug, no matter the circumstances. As time goes on in recovery, that decision is made easier every day. One day, those who are in recovery are surprised to realize that today, they didn’t have to make that decision consciously. Their practice and diligence made the decision for them.

Different tools and practices support making that decision each day. By reducing stress, increasing wellness, and building self-awareness, practices like mindfulness can help prevent relapse by preventing the decision to pick up drugs and alcohol. Mindfulness is a proven practice that helps the brain heal. Brain imaging studies have found that the practice of mindfulness increases gray matter in the brain, which is where new synapses are born to gain new information. Mindfulness also helps reduce stress and even reduce inflammation on a cellular level. All of the benefits of mindfulness contribute to relapse prevention by reducing stress and enhancing awareness.

Mindfulness is a practice of consciousness and awareness. Most people are not consciously aware of their feelings and thoughts throughout the day. They eat when they aren’t hungry, they react when they aren’t upset, and they are typically lacking in emotional intelligence. Many people cannot tell you the specifics of what they are experiencing emotionally because their emotional intelligence stops at mad, sad, glad, happy, and okay. Tuning in to the emotions with mindfulness creates more awareness of emotions and a greater ability to regulate those emotions. Rather than default to cravings for drugs and alcohol, for example, the brain learns to take a pause, find a moment, and pay attention to what is really going on. Building awareness through mindfulness is building self-awareness. Self-awareness alone is not the answer to sobriety. Combined with other tools and a growing self-knowledge, mindfulness can be an effective tool for preventing relapse.

Long lasting recovery is possible. Infinity Malibu offers luxury residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs serving the greater Los Angeles area. Start your legacy of recovery today by calling us for information on our continuum of care for addiction and co-occurring disorder treatment. Start your legacy of recovery today by calling us for information on our admissions process: (855) 575 – 2604

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