Mindfulness has developed into a widely recognised treatment method for individuals in recovery from addiction. Becoming aware of your thoughts and why you are thinking them is vital to changing negative thoughts and compulsive behaviours. The Mindful Path to Addiction Recovery: A Practical Guide to Regaining Control over Your Life by Lawrence Peltz helps readers understand the connection between mindfulness and addiction, how to think mindfully and develop self-compassion.
The Mindful Path to Addiction Recovery Book Summary
Mindfulness describes the quality of awareness that combines complete consciousness and acceptance of each present moment, by simply observing it as it is. It is gaining wide acceptance with mental health professionals as a supplement to treatment. Addicts are often compelled to self-medicate, such as by seeking drugs and alcohol, in an attempt to avoid emotional pain that is caused by mental health issues like childhood trauma, depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Conversely, mindfulness helps individuals develop greater acceptance and self-compassion, along with the ability to handle life’s challenges more easily.
In The Mindful Path to Addiction Recovery, Dr. Lawrence Peltz, an addiction psychiatrist for almost thirty years, uses his clinical experience and the methods of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) to give an explanation of the important dynamics of addiction and the paths and phases of the recovery process (including medication and psychotherapy). Dr. Peltz reviews scientific studies on the benefits of mindfulness for both general mental health and addiction recovery along with patient stories. He also provides readers with detailed mindfulness exercises and techniques to aid in recovery.
My personal review of The Mindful Path to Addiction Recovery
Mindfulness is becoming increasingly popular as a treatment for drug and alcohol dependency. Even though the subject of mindfulness has been featured in many publications throughout the last two decades, The Mindful Path to Addiction Recovery is very well written and surprisingly easy to read and digest, especially given the complexity of addiction.
One of the main reasons why this book is easy to read is the way Dr. Peltz breaks things up into different categories. First, he tells the readers about various people and their circumstances, which he continues to do throughout the book, making it entertaining and relatable.
Then he uses everyday events or tasks to describe concepts. For example, he says that we might find it uncomfortable to get out of bed when it is cold outside, but we know we have to do it. He points out that addicts, on the other hand, will stay in bed to avoid the cold. Lastly he gives detailed instructions for different exercises that can be used to practice mindfulness.
When people first hear about mindfulness, they often do not see the connection between mindfulness and addiction. The Mindful Path to Addiction Recovery makes the connection between being mindful and addiction much clearer and easier to understand. Being truly aware of the moment and what is involved lowers your stress and helps you to be less fixated on problems you cannot solve or potential problems that have not even happened in your future.
What makes mindfulness effective?
The practice of mindfulness addresses an important question: how do we stand still in the midst of stress of our lives? First of all, let’s talk about what mindfulness is. It is actually a combination of several things. Essentially, it is living one moment at a time. Most of us do not do this. We tend to live in the past, the future or in stories in our head.
When we live in the past, we often become stuck in our perception of what reality was, causing us to grieve, mourn and regret. When we live in the future, we spend a great deal of time over-thinking, worrying and creating expectations of how we think things should be. The stories and commentaries that we create cause us to keep judging and comparing. All of these actions stop us from living in the now.
Mindfulness tends to be more about body awareness than what is going on in our heads. We usually go deep into our heads when we are under stress so this offers a way for us to ground ourselves in the experience of the body. It is also really about knowing the difference between what we can and cannot control, which might sound familiar if you know the 12 Steps serenity prayer. Mindfulness takes those words and gives you an actionable way to do just that.
How The Mindful Path to Addiction Recovery helped my recovery journey
The Mindful Path to Addiction Recovery has been an important part of my ongoing recovery. It is written in such a way that it will be easy for those who are new to mindfulness exercises to understand and implement, and it also digs deeper for those who are already familiar with the concept. Joining the why we should be present with the how to practice mindfulness and meditation is a groundbreaking concept, especially when it comes to addiction and recovery.
After reading this book, I have noticed that I am able to put what I have learned into practice. I have caught myself almost falling back into my usual reactions several times and have been able to improve my responses. During early recovery, I kept looking for the same assurance that drinking used to give me in different activities.
By learning and doing mindfulness exercises and developing my meditation practice, I have somehow become more relaxed with life’s uncertainties and I notice that my experience has become more open and richer.
Whether you use The Mindful Path to Addiction Recovery in addition to other recovering methods or choose mindfulness as your primary focus of your journey to recovery, you will definitely learn a lot about yourself by reading this book.