Mindfulness: Important To The Recovery Process

By Misty Long
Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at 2:58 pm in
Man and woman with dog smiling and drinking coffee

One intervention that has been shown to improve our relationships with ourselves and others is mindfulness.  Mindfulness can assist you in developing self-awareness and insight in addition to aiding in the development of healthier relationships.  Being able to build and sustain healthy relationships is a key tenet of recovery from addiction.

Mindfulness aims to teach you how to experience emotions without being overwhelmed by them, allowing you to return to a calm state more quickly after experiencing distress.  This process allows you to utilize coping skills instead of resorting back to substances.  Being in the moment and being able to accept emotions as they arise, process them, and respond appropriately are all components of the mindfulness perspective and are all important to the recovery process.

Mindfulness can also help you learn how to process and understand your negative childhood experiences, put those experiences into perspective, allow positive relationships to form, and eventually lead to greater self-acceptance and self-understanding.  Self-acceptance and self-understanding are typically not present in active addiction.  These concepts are important to develop in order to come to terms with the past and move forward with a new perspective on ourselves and on our lives.

Mindfulness has also been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, all of which are common in early recovery.  During active addiction the tendency is to react instead of respond.  Mindfulness aims to help you respond instead of reacting through distress tolerance, being in the moment, and assists you in gaining capabilities for awareness and compassion - all of which foster healthy, secure relationships in recovery.  


Baldini, L.L., Parker, S.C., Nelson, B.W., & Siegel, D. (2014). The clinician as neuroarchitect: 
the importance of mindfulness and presence in clinical practice. Clinical Social Work Journal, 42(3), 218-227.

Clausen, J. M., Aguilar, R. M., & Ludwig, M. E. (2012). Fostering healthy attachment between 
substance dependent parents and their infant children. Journal of Infant, Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy, 11(4), 376-386. doi:10.1080/15289168.2012.735183

Davis, T. J., Morris, M., & Drake, M. M. (2016). The moderation effect of mindfulness on the 
relationship between adult attachment and wellbeing. Personality and Individual Differences, 96, 115-121. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2016.02.080

Duncan, L. G., Coatsworth, J. D., Gayles, J. G., Geier, M. H., & Greenberg, M. T. (2015). Can 
mindful parenting be observed? Relations between observational ratings of mother–youth interactions and mothers’ self-report of mindful parenting. Journal of Family Psychology, 29(2), 276-282. doi:10.1037/a0038857

Malis, F. R., Meyer, T., Gross, M. M., & Roy Malis, F. (2017). Effects of an antenatal 
mindfulness-based childbirth and parenting programme on the postpartum experiences of mothers: A qualitative interview study. BMC Pregnancy & Childbirth, 17, 1-11. doi:10.1186/s12884-017-1240-9

Short, V. L., Gannon, M., Weingarten, W., Abatemarco, D. J., Kaltenbach, K., & LaNoue, M. 
(2017). Reducing stress among mothers in drug treatment: A description of a mindfulness based parenting intervention. Maternal and Child Health Journal, 21(6), 1377-1386.
doi: 10.1007/s10995-016-2244-1

Snyder, R., Shapiro, S., & Treleaven, D. (2012). Attachment theory and mindfulness. Journal of 
    Child and Family Studies, 21(5), 709-717. doi:10.1007/s10826-011-9522-8