Blog's quite the buzzword lately, with it being talked about as a way of dealing with everything from trying to lose weight to addiction recovery. The subject of mindfulness has come up in a lot of addiction Twitter chats I've been a part of lately and I will admit that I've struggled with the concept. What exactly does mindfulness mean?


I did a Google search and the definition that caught my eye was: “a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, used as a therapeutic technique.” - Google search engine


As someone who likes to plan ahead as much as possible, the idea of focusing on the present moment does not always sit well with me; I don't always appreciate the moment I'm in because I am trying to stay at least one step ahead. While I don't necessarily think this is always a bad thing in general, it is a problem when it comes to my recovery.


I've written before about going back to Al-Anon after 14 years, and I am proud to say that I now have 2 months in the program. Al-Anon has taught me a lot about myself in these two short months and one of the things I've learned is that I am a bit of a control freak. I think this goes back to the fact that I had to take care of everything while my husband was in active addiction, so I never really had time to enjoy the moment. I was busy working to make sure that our daughter was taken care of and that her life and routine was as normal as possible so the absence of her father wouldn't be as glaring, but I also think that I didn't want to be in the moment, because at the time the moment was very difficult for me.


Fast forward to today and I'm being told that mindfulness or “living in the moment” is very important when it comes to recovery. In my mind I'm thinking “why, I've been doing just fine up to this point so I don't need to change now.” Classic addiction thinking right? Just because I'm not an addict, I am the spouse and sibling of addicts and it is very easy to pick up some of their ways of thinking.


I had to get honest and ask myself if I was really fine, why was I going to Al-Anon? Obviously something was off or I wouldn't feel the need to attend meetings and it was at that point that I started to really pay attention to the concept of mindfulness. As if to drive the point home even further, mindfulness was the topic of one of our recent meetings; okay Higher Power, I get it :)


Although I am still finding my way in terms of fully grasping and practicing mindfulness, I am starting to understand why it's so important when it comes to recovery. Thinking about how things were rather than how they are now, is robbing myself of the joy of how good things are at the moment. The past is done and over with, and dwelling on it will not change anything; all it will do is bring up bad memories and hard feelings and I don't want to do that to myself or my husband.


It was a very hard, very long journey to get to where we are now, and where we are now is happy! My husband and I are in a healthy, strong, loving relationship; our daughter is closer than she's ever been to her father, happy and doing well. My husband has 14 years of sobriety, went back to school and got his degree and recently celebrated a year of working in the field as a drug & alcohol counselor. I am finally able to address my need of dealing with the issues of his addiction by attending Al-Anon meetings and I can honestly say that it is one of the best things I have ever done for myself.


Right now the moment is pretty darn good and I intend to be mindful and cherish every minute!

Nadine Herring is the owner of Virtually Nadine, a virtual assistant company that provides online administrative support to addiction specialists and social service organizations. I specialize in working with this undervalued and overworked field to help them deal with the time consuming process of running an organization.

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