Reflections on Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction
My recovery journey took many detours, and one of the reasons I often used to delay getting sober was that my life was too stressful. So when the time came to really get serious about my own recovery I took a class called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) at UMass Medical Center. I figured that if I could handle my stress better I may have a better chance at succeeding in recovery.
I found MBSR to be a powerful tool to add to my toolbox, as they say. I began to see that my alcohol use was less a judgment on my character than merely a rather unskilled attempt at meeting life's challenges, and I learned how to respond rather than react to the ups and downs of life/recovery. And still learning! Rather than being fatally flawed, I was able to work on acquiring those skills that have since helped my navigate my own journey.
And over the years, as my mindfulness practice has deepened, I became very interested in sharing what I've learned during that first 8-week MBSR class with the Life Ring community, and am currently enrolled to become certified as an MBSR teacher through Brown University. So what is mindfulness? Mindfulness is nothing more than "paying attention, on purpose, in the present, and without judgment". And, like sobriety/recovery, mindfulness is simple but it ain't necessarily easy! And, as with recovery, mindfulness is a transformative process, and often most powerful within a group setting. So I was honored when Life Ring asked if I would do a MBSR workshop at the Annual Meeting! And I hope, if there is interest, to offer a version of the 8-week MBSR course to interested Life Ringers.
Ewa is a LifeRing blogger, Convenor Salon speaker, and HWYW convenor. We are very grateful for the workshops she's presented here at LifeRing and hope she will offer an 8-week MBSR course soon. Keep an eye out for invitations!