Mindfulness Based Recovery: Not Just an Alternative

When does the alternative become the new standard?

Since the 1930s, advancements in medicine and science have allowed us to produce a usable form of penicillin, saving countless lives. We have been fortunate enough to see polio vaccines produced, nearly eradicating the virus from our country. We’ve learned that smoking was likely a major risk factor of lung cancer and emphysema and begun using warning labels from the Surgeon General. We’ve discontinued use of iodine and mercurochrome for cuts, and have done away with the Iron Lung in favor of healthier and safer alternatives that are now the standard of care.

Also introduced in the 1930s, the ubiquitous Alcoholics Anonymous program and its 12 steps have been considered the “gold standard” of treatment for substance abuse treatment in the years since. Particularly when combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, a conceptual approach developed in the 1960s, the 12 steps quickly took over as the most popular method to treat addictions, in the US and later to developed countries all over the world.

Luckily for us, there have also been exponential advances in science, neurology, and psychology in the last 80 years. We now know that neuroplasticity can play a major role in recovery, we have a greater understanding of how addictions are created and broken, and we have explored other options in treatment modalities which have been scientifically proven to be as good or better than the traditional models. Mindfulness based treatment programs, sometimes referenced in scientific journals as MT, have been shown through neuroimaging studies to not only help reduce cravings, poor decision making, and the “auto pilot” loop of drug seeking when “triggered” by cues by affecting brain regions such as the insular, the anterior cingulate cortex, and the dorsal striatum. Rather than focusing on the disease concept of traditional programs and learning to cope or manage addictions, Mindfulness Therapy seeks to highlight the ways that a person can interrupt unhealthy habits, decrease stress reactivity, and become aware of their thoughts in the moment so that they can choose how to respond rather than simply react out of conditioned thinking. Results range far beyond simple drug use and abuse, including strong links to stress reduction overall, increased contentedness and an overall increased sense of well-being, which is often crucial to success in addiction recovery.

While the 12 steps still dominate the landscape among treatment programs across the US, Centered Recovery Programs posits that Mindfulness Based Treatment is not just a “12 step alternative”, but rather a major advancement in understanding addiction and successful recovery, where clients can learn to thrive in their every day life rather than white knuckle their way through addiction trying to cope with their life one day at a time. While the traditional model may still help people, generations of people born after 1960 have been seeking a viable, proven model of treatment that promotes innate resiliency and seeks to highlight what is healthy within, while helping them to navigate an increasingly fast paced world that often leaves little or no time for mental health or wellness.

Centered Recovery is that program. We have extensively studied Mindfulness Based Treatment among other modalities and present a completely unique program with evidence-based concepts that doesn’t just reacquaint our clients with sobriety, but with the understanding that life can be joyful and beautiful once more. Our goal for our clients is not to “white knuckle” their way through life, but to have the knowledge and understanding to experience everything that life has in store for them without worrying about being “triggered” back into addiction. At Centered Recovery, we know that sobriety is within you, and we know that we can help you find it.

If you’re ready to get help for an addiction, call us at 800-556-2966 to see if Centered Recovery is the right fit for you. Located in North Metro Atlanta, now serving clients nationwide.