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A Focus on Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention



The past few years have seen a surge in research and treatment for addiction, mental illness, and related issues. 

In the midst of this, there has been an increasing focus on mindfulness-based treatment approaches. 

For example, a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that patients with substance use disorders who participated in intensive outpatient programs showed better outcomes when they used specialized mindfulness training as part of their treatment.


Table of Contents

Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention(MBRP): What Is It?

Mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something. It can be practiced regularly to help people change their relationship with their thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations so that they are less reactive to them. 

Mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP) is an evidence-based practice that incorporates the concepts of mindfulness into treatment for substance use disorders to reduce the risk of relapse.

By helping clients learn how to pay attention differently, MBRP teaches them how to recognize and respond differently when negative thoughts and feelings arise during recovery from addiction. 

This allows individuals struggling with substance use disorder (SUD) to work toward abstinence from drugs or alcohol to maintain sobriety over time by learning new ways of coping with stressful situations throughout life without turning back towards drug use as a form of escape or self-medication.


Why is mindfulness important?

Mindfulness is a way of paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. It helps you stay focused on what’s going on in the present moment, rather than ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. 

When you’re more aware of what’s happening around you whether it’s how someone looks or how their voice sounds this can help curb cravings for drugs or alcohol. 

Mindfulness can also help people manage stress, which can lead to heavy drinking or drug use in some cases.

It may sound simple, but it’s not easy! Being mindful means recognizing that sometimes we have urges or cravings and being able to resist them — which takes practice!


How do I practice mindfulness?

It’s time to practice. Here are some ways to get started:

  • Meditation—In a seated or cross-legged position, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Try to keep your attention focused on each breath as it goes in and out. When thoughts come up, acknowledge them but do not dwell on them. If you find yourself thinking about something else, gently bring your attention back to focusing on your breath until the next thought comes into your head.
  • Breathing exercises—Try this exercise: inhale through one nostril for five seconds; hold for seven seconds; exhale for eight seconds; repeat three times (the complete cycle is known as an “inhale”). During inhalation, visualize that you are filling up every cell in your body with fresh air from those five breaths; during holding, visualize all bad energy leaving the body through one nostril while good energy fills up each cell of the body with fresh oxygen; during exhalation visualize all negative thoughts being released through one nostril while positive ones fill up each cell of the body with fresh oxygen again (Rosenzweig & Solomon 2011).


Seeking treatment in a structured setting

A structured treatment program is a great way to learn mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP). 

In these programs, you’ll have the opportunity to practice MBRP with a trained therapist and other people who are in recovery from addiction. A structured treatment program offers several benefits:

  • It gives you access to one-on-one time with a trained professional who can help guide you through the process of learning MBRP.
  • It can take place in an environment that feels comfortable and safe, which may provide extra motivation for practicing mindfulness exercises regularly.
  • You’ll be able to learn at your own pace, whether you want to focus on specific aspects of your life or just try out some new skills without pressure.


Recovery is possible. Don't give up on yourself

Recovery is possible. Don’t give up on yourself. You can do this!

Recovery takes time, and it’s worth it.

It takes commitment and courage to change yourself and your life, but you are not alone in this journey. 

Many people have gone through what you’re going through right now, who have worked hard to recover from substance use disorders, and who can help support your recovery efforts as well as guide you toward healthier living choices that benefit both your physical and mental health moving forward into the future.


We hope that you have been inspired by the advice of these experts, who have gone through what you are going through now.

They’ve written this because they know that it can be difficult to find the right resources when facing addiction especially online. 

While there are many great blogs and websites out there, they’re often short on helpful information or long on jargon. 

The ultimate goal is to provide you with a place where you can come for all your mindfulness needs: whether it’s articles about how to start practicing meditation or podcasts about overcoming stress. 

We want everyone who visits this site to feel empowered by their own experiences—and we hope that reading about others will help inspire you toward recovery too!


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