Mindfulness, Meditation, and the Art of Being Here in Recovery

Therapy asks that clients in recovery spend a good amount of time dissecting and processing

Therapy asks that clients in recovery spend a good amount of time dissecting and processing past events. Similarly, it asks that clients consider the possibilities for their future, taking the time to prepare and make plans in order to prepare a safe route in sobriety.

The secret to successful living in recovery, however, is to learn how to live in the present moment, being mindful and aware of your surroundings and actively releasing obsessive thoughts over the past and worry over the future. This can take practice and time, but it is well worth the effort, helping to lower overall stress levels and manage acutely stressful situations when they arise.

Here are just a few ways you can begin to incorporate mindfulness practice into your life and recovery starting right now:

Just stop

No matter where you are, stop what you are doing and take a look around. Notice how the air feels. Notice the smells. Notice where your clothes come into contact with your skin. Just be for a moment and let all thoughts on anything but your current surroundings pass. That’s it – that’s all you need to do to practice mindfulness.

Focus on your breath

Notice how your breath feels filling up your lungs, how it feels to exhale. If you like, you can control your breathing, taking a deep breath in, holding it for a few counts, and exhaling longer than the inhale. This can help you to practice mindfulness, and it can also serve to slow the autonomic system and help you to feel calmer naturally.

Sit and focus

For many, mindfulness starts with a meditation practice. This is just what it sounds like: sitting still, quietly, often with eyes closed or looking at a focal object like a candle, just breathing in and out and allowing thoughts to pass without notice. Starting with just five minutes a day and working up to 10 minutes or more has been shown to help people manage their stress, sleep better, and feel more clearheaded.

Take a walk

If you feel that sitting still is not working for you or if you would like to expand your mindfulness practice beyond your meditation cushion, you can try taking a mindfulness walk. Choose a natural area for your walk like a park, a beach, or a wooded location, and go alone, allowing your thoughts to pass just as you do in seated meditation. Focus on the how the air feels and smells, the sound of the wind in the trees or the rolling waves, and notice the small details of how the ground feels beneath you. Be aware and present, and avoid retreating into your thoughts as you walk.

Eat mindfully

When you eat, instead of eating hurriedly or doing other things during your meal, you have the opportunity to practice mindfulness by thoughtfully preparing a plate that focuses on nutrient-dense, non-processed foods and sitting down to eat. The idea is to fully focus on the act of eating, chewing each bite, tasting your food, and being present. This empowers your mindfulness practice, and it can also help to ensure that you are eating foods that will help your body to repair itself and that you are not eating beyond fullness.

Do a body scan

It can be helpful to stop and check in with yourself throughout the day and mentally do a body scan. Start at your feet and work your way up slowly, noticing anywhere that there is tightness or pain. Consider your mental state and note how you are feeling. Notice if you are hungry or tired. If you can, in that moment address whatever issue you uncover; stretch or move to relieve pain or discomfort, rest if possible if you are tired, and eat something healthy if you are hungry.

Practice mindful conversations

When you are talking to someone, do you often find that you are only half listening? Do you focus instead on judging the content of what they are saying, thinking about how they might be judging you, or preparing for how you will respond? When being mindful, focus solely on what they are saying without judgment – it simply is what it is, neither good nor bad – and then take a second to process your response before speaking.

The Power of Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment, without judgment or distraction. It is about being fully present in the here and now, and being aware of our thoughts, feelings, and sensations as they arise. Mindfulness can help individuals in recovery to develop greater self-awareness, manage their emotions, and reduce stress and anxiety.

Research has shown that mindfulness can be an effective tool for addiction recovery. A study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that mindfulness-based interventions can help individuals in recovery to reduce their drug and alcohol use and improve their overall well-being.

The Benefits of Meditation

Meditation is a form of mental training that involves focusing the mind on a particular object, such as the breath or a mantra. It is a powerful tool for cultivating inner peace, self-awareness, and spiritual connection. Meditation can help individuals in recovery to quiet their minds, reduce stress and anxiety, and develop greater clarity and focus.

There are many different types of meditation, including mindfulness meditation, loving-kindness meditation, and compassion meditation. Each type of meditation has its own unique benefits, and individuals in recovery may find that certain types of meditation are more helpful than others.

The Art of Being Here

The art of being here is about cultivating a deep sense of presence and connection with ourselves and the world around us. It is about being fully immersed in the present moment, and letting go of our worries, fears, and distractions. The art of being here can help individuals in recovery to develop greater self-awareness, manage their emotions, and find inner peace and happiness.

There are many different practices that can help individuals in recovery to cultivate the art of being here, including mindfulness meditation, yoga, and nature walks. By practicing these techniques regularly, individuals in recovery can develop a greater sense of presence, connection, and inner peace.

The Role of Mindfulness and Meditation in Relapse Prevention

One of the most challenging aspects of addiction recovery is relapse prevention. Even after individuals have completed a treatment program, they may be at risk of relapse due to triggers such as stress, anxiety, or social situations. This is where mindfulness and meditation can play a crucial role.

Research has shown that practicing mindfulness and meditation can help individuals in recovery to develop greater self-awareness and emotional regulation. By learning to observe their thoughts, feelings, and cravings without judgment or reactivity, individuals can become more skilled at managing their triggers and preventing relapse.

In addition, mindfulness and meditation can help individuals to cultivate a sense of inner calm and resilience in the face of stressors. By developing a regular practice of mindfulness and meditation, individuals can build up their mental muscles over time, making them better equipped to handle difficult situations without turning to drugs or alcohol.

Overall, the role of mindfulness and meditation in relapse prevention cannot be overstated. By incorporating these practices into their daily routine, individuals in recovery can cultivate the skills and mindset needed for long-term sobriety and well-being.

Techniques for Incorporating Mindfulness and Meditation into Daily Life

While mindfulness and meditation can be powerful tools for addiction recovery, it can be challenging to incorporate these practices into our daily lives. Here are some techniques that can help individuals in recovery to make mindfulness and meditation a regular part of their routine:

Start Small

It's important to start small when incorporating mindfulness and meditation into your daily life. Rather than trying to meditate for an hour each day, aim for just a few minutes at first. Set a timer for five or ten minutes and focus on your breath or a mantra during that time.

Create a Routine

Creating a routine can help make mindfulness and meditation a habit. Try to practice at the same time each day, whether it's first thing in the morning or before bed at night. By making mindfulness and meditation a regular part of your routine, you'll be more likely to stick with it over time.

Find Accountability

Finding accountability can also help you stay motivated with your mindfulness and meditation practice. Consider joining a group or finding a meditation partner who can offer support and encouragement along the way.

Use Guided Meditations

Guided meditations can be helpful for beginners who are just starting out with their practice. There are many apps and websites that offer guided meditations on various topics, such as stress reduction or addiction recovery.

Practice Mindfulness in Daily Activities

In addition to formal meditation practice, try incorporating mindfulness into your daily activities. This could include mindful eating, walking, or even brushing your teeth. By bringing awareness to each moment of your day, you'll develop greater presence and connection with yourself and the world around you.

By incorporating these techniques into your daily life, you can make mindfulness and meditation a regular part of your routine, helping you cultivate greater self-awareness, inner calm, and spiritual connection over time.

Overcoming Common Obstacles to Practicing Mindfulness and Meditation in Recovery

While mindfulness and meditation can be powerful tools for addiction recovery, there are common obstacles that can make it difficult to practice regularly. Here are some tips for overcoming these obstacles:

Lack of Time

Many individuals in recovery may feel like they don't have enough time to practice mindfulness and meditation. However, even a few minutes of practice each day can be beneficial. Consider waking up a few minutes earlier or taking a short break during the day to practice.

Difficulty Focusing

For some individuals, focusing the mind on the present moment can be challenging. If you find yourself easily distracted during your practice, try using guided meditations or focusing on a particular object such as the breath.


Self-judgment is a common obstacle that can prevent individuals from practicing mindfulness and meditation. It's important to remember that mindfulness is about observing our thoughts without judgment or reactivity. If you find yourself being self-critical during your practice, try to let go of those judgments and refocus your attention on the present moment.

Physical Discomfort

Sitting still for extended periods of time can be uncomfortable for some individuals. If you experience physical discomfort during your practice, consider trying different positions such as lying down or sitting in a chair. It's also important to listen to your body and take breaks as needed.

By recognizing and addressing these common obstacles, individuals in recovery can develop a regular mindfulness and meditation practice that is sustainable over time.

The Benefits of Group Meditation in Recovery

Meditating alone can be a powerful experience, but there are also many benefits to practicing meditation in a group setting. For individuals in recovery, group meditation can be an especially helpful tool for cultivating inner peace and connection.

One of the primary benefits of group meditation is the sense of community and support that it provides. When meditating with others, individuals can feel a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose. This can help to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, which are common triggers for addiction.

In addition, group meditation can provide a sense of accountability and motivation. When committing to a regular meditation practice with others, individuals may feel more motivated to stick with their practice over time. They may also feel more accountable to their fellow meditators, which can help them stay on track with their recovery goals.

Group meditation can also be a powerful tool for deepening one's own practice. When meditating with others, individuals may find it easier to enter into deeper states of relaxation or concentration. They may also benefit from the collective energy and focus of the group.

Overall, group meditation is a valuable tool for individuals in recovery who are looking to deepen their spiritual connection and cultivate inner peace. By joining a local meditation group or attending retreats focused on mindfulness-based practices, individuals can tap into this powerful source of support and healing.


Mindfulness and meditation can help individuals in recovery cultivate awareness, calm, and spiritual connection. Incorporating these practices into daily routines can develop the skills and mindset needed for long-term sobriety and well-being. Start small by creating a routine, finding accountability, using guided meditations, and practicing mindfulness in daily activities.

Group meditation is also valuable for deepening spiritual connection. Join a local group or attend retreats focused on mindfulness-based practices for support and healing.

Mindfulness is all about finding new ways to be actively and presently in the moment. How will you incorporate mindfulness practice into your daily life?


Since joining the Townsend content team, Shlomo has become a thought leader in the addiction field. He is a Seinfeld junkie, a recovering Twitter fanatic, and a sports expert. He enjoys milk shakes and beautiful views from rooftops.