Preventing Relapse – What is Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention?
We hear the word “mindfulness” all the time these days, but what exactly does it mean to a person in recovery? The author of the book “Full Catastrophe Living”, Dr. Kabat-Zinn, explains mindfulness as a state of being where you pay attention in a certain way on purpose, without judgment and with a complete focus on the present. Mindfulness based relapse prevention is a fairly new way to approach recovery and with first-year recovering addict relapse rates between 40 and 60 percent, the need for better ways to stay sober and clean is clear.
In this article, we will look what mindfulness based relapse prevention is in brief.
Mindfulness Based Relapse Prevention Explained
Using mindfulness for relapse prevention, also known as MBRP, helps by addressing issues that the person may have through a combined approach of both traditional therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy together with meditation. The main idea behind the method is to calmly accept all things in a person’s life, even cravings and bad emotions, as a part of a whole experience. This is done through self-compassion and complete acceptance. Done correctly, it allows a person to gain control over their cravings.
Acceptance is what separates MRBP from traditional forms of treatment. In the normal therapy and relapse prevention techniques that are commonly used in rehab try to encourage the person to put negative emotions and cravings out of their mind because a focus on these things can cause a relapse. Many rehabs teach that addiction is like a sleeping tiger that is ready to pounce the moment the person lets their abstinence guard down. However, with MRBP as part of the relapse prevention techniques, patients are taught not to ignore these emotions, but rather embrace them. Cravings and negative thoughts are seen as natural and not something to run away from but rather through embracing it, they lose their control.
Focusing and Paying Attention
A part of the mindfulness based relapse prevention activities is paying attention. Since the methods used to perform mindfulness resemble meditation, one can say that at the core of the technique is paying attention to all the elements of a person’s life, such as their behavior, cravings, where they are and what they are doing.
It begins with just noticing what you are doing while holding any judgments. People are encouraged to keep track of events and thoughts by writing it down or using an app for each time the person does something they are trying to avoid.
By using the information gathered along with learning how to wait before attempting to engage in the negative behavior, it can have a massive impact on the ability to control cravings. It follows the technique known as “urge surfing”.
The idea of surfing is exhilarating. With that in mind, one of the mindfulness based relapse prevention activities is urge surfing, which is when a person embraces all of the aspects of their urges or cravings with understanding and compassion. It is said that cravings will disappear within 20 minutes regardless of whether a person took action on them or not. Therefore, through urge surfing, a person is able to take control over their cravings more so than ever before.
If you need help to remain clean and sober, or want to help a loved one prevent relapse, get in touch with Better Addiction Care today at 1.800.429.7690 to discover rehab centers with MBRP programs near you.