I have recently had a meeting with STAGES (Support Training Advice Guidance Educational Services Limited), a non profit organisation created to support recovering addicts, along with their family members, regarding the use of Mindfulness to aid the recovery process and help prevent future relapses of recovering addicts.
Addiction is something that has had a direct impact upon my family in the past and while there is limited help available to addicts in regard to their mental health and wellbeing, their families are sadly often forgotten. I feel privileged to be able to take part in the Healing Minds Project.
Mindfulness is a powerful tool in the treatment of addictions, which take hold in many subtle psychological ways, it enables us to: –
- Understand our desires
- Notice cravings and choose how to react before they take hold
- Regular practice strengthens our muscles of attention so we find it easier to release thoughts and cravings
- Teaches us how to experience cravings without necessarily reacting to them
- Shows us a way to deal with stress so we are less likely to use a ‘crutch’
In a recent study Neuroscientists found that after just five 20 minute sessions of a mindfulness meditation technique, people had increased blood flow to an area of the brain vital to self-control, the anterior cingulate cortex. After 11 hours of practice, they found actual physical changes in the brain around this area. (Reference Short-term meditation induces white matter changes in the anterior cingulate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(35), 15649-15652)
The programme we will be using for this project combines Mindfulness and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques which will be running in Corby, Northamptonshire over a period of 10 weeks. There will be two separate programmes, one on a Tuesday evening for families affected by addiction and one on a Wednesday lunchtime for recovering addicts.
Participants will be expected to attend each session as well as carrying out some practice at home in-between sessions (MP3’s will be provided for this).
To find out dates, more information or to book a place please contact STAGES.