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Practicing Mindfulness

What began as a tool to fill in our curriculum has turned into a lifeline. After the Pilot, we began looking for other things to add to our curriculum to make it more inclusive. Prior to that, we had used a 12-step model exclusively. While there is nothing wrong with the 12-step model, we found that it was specifically geared toward substance use, and we wanted the program to be helpful to anybody who wanted support with their mental wellness. So I found this book that had mindfulness tools in it, and we began to introduce some of them in the shop.

We went through some of these mindfulness tools in group, we started to dissect some of the principles we were learning, we learned meditations and grounding techniques. At first, everything was new and a little strange, most of us were already comfortable with the recovery lingo and this was new territory. As we continued to utilize these tools however, we found that they were essential for being able to cope and survive in the mental struggle that seemed to plague us daily.

Now, I am finding that just the practice of mindfulness, even without using a specific tools or technique is so helpful. It is the practice of setting your mind on something you want to focus on. Just the act of thinking about setting your mind, the act of processing the information to decide, is in fact helping. Little by little, we become the master over our thoughts instead if being victimized by them. Let’s face it, most of us have a very unkind inner critic, and for some, that voice is the loudest. Learning to practice mindfulness gives us control and the strength to silence the inncer critic. We are taking our lives back one thought at a time, and setting our minds on a path of our choosing, is perhaps the most powerful lifeline of all.

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