In recent years, an ancient, yet surprisingly modern, scientifically equally sound practice has been gaining attention, promising physical and mental health benefits like stress relief, better quality of sleep, a more balanced emotional life, improved digestion, or even turning back the clock and regaining your youthful looks. In the 21st century, mindfulness has conquered our Western world, and perhaps it’s high time we begin to apply its wise teachings and methods in our modern struggles to bring back balance to all our affairs, may it be for mindfulness’ well or lesser-known effects.
One such result of practicing mindfulness may be assisting a wholesome recovery from various addictions. Overeating, caffeine, the Internet, alcohol, sex, negative thoughts, or tragically, illicit drugs – one way or another, most of us have been there. Addictions usually begin innocently, easily grabbing hold of anyone unsuspecting, especially those who do not make a conscious effort to direct their thoughts, feelings, and actions, taking command and claiming ownership and responsibility for one’s fate.
We live in a world where awareness and being present in the moment is difficult. With our calendars overflowing, a nearly nonexistent balance between work and private lives, rushing from one emotional and sensory high to the next, slowing down becomes just about impossible, making conscious choices on the level of thought virtually unheard of.
In theory, we all know the age-old truth: our thoughts become our actions, and our actions eventually create patterns that shape our life experience. Yet, when there’s no time or energy to recognize our deep, internal yearning to slow down and actually savor the moment by being present in it physically, mentally, and emotionally, we might very well never meaningfully experience the fleeting moments our lives are made of.
Why is this such a crucial knowledge in a world, plagued with addictions and their various social, economic, physiological, emotional, and personal aftermaths? Because once we realize how automatic our thoughts, feelings, and actions have become, how we allowed inanimate things and mindless activities to take the control away from our conscious mind fueled with clear desire and willpower, we can begin to understand how practicing mindfulness in our day-to-day lives can indeed help to bring recovery from our various destructive addictions.
While it may seem like we have plenty of opportunities to change our lives for the better, to achieve our deepest desires, or overcome harmful habits that wreak havoc of our lives, the bad news is, there is actually very little room given to each one of us to make a tangibly meaningful difference and begin to experience something better than our current realities. The truth is, everything is decided at this exact moment, and in the next one, again, you get another chance – but only if you are choosing to be fully present in it.
The good news is, thus, that your life is full of potentially fate-altering moments that could change the trajectory of your path from being burdened with destructive addictions, to living in complete freedom, using your power of will to create a life that you don’t just want to endure but fully, wholly, and completely embrace and enjoy. However, it requires a conscious choice to move from the state of mindlessness into the state of mindfulness.
When you choose to be mindful, consciously letting go of the pains and traumas of the past that drag you down, while also turning away from the worries of the future that make you fearful of living without the aid of some kind of addiction that promises but never delivers relief, your attention automatically begins to flow to the only place where relief and life-altering choice can be experienced: this exact present moment.
Mindfulness—being present right now, as is, accepting the Now as is—is the first step to gain awareness of something else controlling the situation other than you, leading you to the dead-ends of addictions. Experiencing the power of Now, you choose the only real opportunity to pick a different thought that will lead to different actions. Only by using every “Now-moment” mindfully, will the path to freedom from addictions open up. Practicing mindfulness is not just the best but essentially the single genuinely useful way to overcome addiction.