Choose to Recover Mindfully!
Ewa will be leading a meditation workshop during the 2023 LifeRing Annual Meeting on June 3rd. Click here for details.
Inviting you all to join me on Tuesday mornings at 9AM Pacific for a new focus meeting called Choose to Recover Mindfully!
Choose to Recover Mindfully!
Tuesdays at 9:00am Pacific
Zoom Meeting ID: 854 5012 2561, Passcode: lifering
My name is Ewa and I’m a woman in long term recovery from alcohol. I’ve been convening HWYW meetings from the East Coast (Boston/Fall River) for several years, first live and now Virtual. Those of you who know me, know that the practice of mindfulness has been, and continues to be, a major component of my recovery journey, aside from LifeRing itself, of course.
Over the past couple of decades, there has been a surge of interest in and research into the use of mindfulness meditation, as well as other mind-body modalities, in helping individuals work through addiction and into sustainable recovery. Mindfulness meditation is associated with neuroplasticity, for one thing, which is our brain’s ability to adapt and change according to what activities we engage in.
Mindfulness has helped me learn to manage stress more skillfully; I’ve become much less reactive, and my overall well-being has improved. Most importantly, for me, is that I’m learning to be more comfortable with being uncomfortable! Mindfulness has helped me be able to “sit” with difficult feelings, situations or what-have-you, without immediately wanting to escape. And I’m slowly learning to be more compassionate towards myself, all of which support my ongoing joy in recovery. The most important thing to understand about Mindfulness is that it is not something you can learn by reading about it or talking about it. The only way to benefit from it is to experience it, and to do the practice with others where you can share your experiences. At first glance, Mindfulness may seem silly or obvious, or ridiculously easy. I can promise you that it is not. Just like recovery, it is simple. But not necessarily easy. And like recovery, I benefits from practice.
Just a little about me
I’ve been in health care for 30 years, and now, as I slowly move towards retirement, I’m working on obtaining a teaching certificate in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) through Brown University, where they also do a lot of research on mindfulness. When I first got sober in 2015, I took an 8 week MBSR course at UMass Medical School, where MBSR was launched by Jon Kabat-Zinn. At that time, in very early sobriety, I felt that most of my alcohol misuse came from my having too much stress in my life. I remember that I often used “stress” as my excuse to drink, or to put off getting sober. And, during our meetings I often hear people talk about how stress has derailed their recovery. I myself had so many mixed feelings about being an “alcoholic”; the approach of MBSR was especially helpful to me because it helped frame all my maladaptive approaches (meaning drinking) to stress management as being unskilled, or unskillful, rather than implying that I was ‘defective’ in some way, or that I was a ‘bad’ person. I have, of course, come to realize that my AUD was much more than poor stress management! But all joking aside, early recovery is very stressful! As is modern life. Poor stress tolerance is very common in both PAWS (Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome) and in those who have any sort of trauma history, which is so common in SUD. The practice of mindfulness can be very helpful for those of us navigating the (sometimes) stormy waters of recovery.
So, please join me on Tuesdays for Choose to Recover Mindfully! We’ll be touching on some of the science behind meditation and we’ll do a brief guided meditation together, after which we’ll open the meeting up to discussion. The discussion can revolve around mindfulness or, of course, any recovery-related discussions per the usual HWYW format. The Tuesday meetings will now run thirty minutes longer in order to allow time for the meditation.
See you there!
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