For quite a while now the Basement Recovery Project have been well aware that recovery from addiction is a long-term and complex process needing a multi-faceted approach to treatment and support. As a part of this approach Michelle and the team have always been keen to try a whole range of different techniques including some possibly less-traditional methods.
To try to explain more, here are three pieces from practitioners and participants of a more holistic style of health promotion.
Firstly Sally is a mindfulness coach who agreed to come along and teach us the benefits of the here and now. I asked her a few questions on the subject:
What is this mindfulness thing all about?
“Mindfulness is a set of ancient practices that if you decide to take up daily have the amazing effects of reducing stress, anxiety, helping you to be able to sleep etc. It’s all to do with your relationship with the present moment and kind of recognising that the present moment is all that there actually is and these practices are to enable you to relate differently to what’s going on right now.”
And how did you get involved in it all?
“Sheer desperation. A very low point in my life; really, really down and I saw a book called The Lost Art of Being Happy: Spirituality for Sceptics and I thought that’s me, ‘cause I’m very sceptical about all this nonsense, and I read it and inside it kept going on about mindfulness and it just seemed really interesting. So I then followed that up with more reading and it really made sense but it wasn’t until I started practicing it that it made any difference.”
Why do you think especially that it would help a load of old addicts?
“I think it helps because in order to make any big changes, first of all you need to see clearly what’s going on in the present moment and I think what is really necessary for people, everybody not just addicts, necessary but lacking is the sense of self-compassion which is the other side to mindfulness, so there’s the attention of what’s going on right now but then there’s bringing compassion in to that as well; so I think that the two hand-in-hand work really, really well at helping people to recognise their own self-worth and to break cyclical patterns of behaviour.”
How have you found it, dealing with addicts (because we can be a bit mental)?
“Good, I like it, very funny, really enjoyable. A little bit daunting when I first came in to be in a room full of people I don’t know, that’s always a little bit daunting first off. But now I really look forward to coming, it’s good, I like it.”
I have been participating in this course and I have genuinely enjoyed every moment of it. I have learned how to bring my mind back when it’s gone hurtling off into the turmoil and misery of the past or the frightening and ultimately doomed future and calm myself down. It’s quite amazing just what taking a few moments to concentrate on your breathing, be in full contact with your body and properly observe what is going on around you using all your senses can do to bring a bit of tranquillity into your life. I would recommend everybody try it, and speaking with those of my peers who have been on the course with me, I think everybody would agree. I’d just like to end this taking of liberties with other people’s articles by saying a massive thank you to Sally for taking the time to get to know us all and I hope she comes back soon.
Article featured in RecoveryTimes issue 7
Article 1 of 3 – #2 An addict’s guide to inner space