Up until this point, you will have been using drugs and alcohol to help you cope with life. Our mindfulness program at Hope Rehab Thailand will increase your ability to deal with negative thoughts, stress, negative emotions, and relapse triggers. This is important because once you feel more in control of your life, the pull towards addiction will become much weaker.
Most our clients at Hope Rehab Thailand will have already heard at least something about mindfulness before they have arrived. There is a great deal of excitement surrounding this approach at the moment due to compelling evidence to support its usefulness for treating many conditions such as addiction, chronic anxiety, depression, and obsessive behaviour. Mindfulness is getting a huge amount of attention in the press as well: Several famous practitioners are helping to promote it including Adriana Huffington, Sam Harris, Emma Watson, Anderson Copper, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ruby Wax, and Michael Jordan. It might be tempting to dismiss it as just another fad (like primal scream therapy in the 70ies) until we remember that people have been benefiting from mindfulness practice for thousands of years.
Mindfulness is a relatively simple technique, but it takes effort and practice to make it a part of your life. We find most clients who enter our treatment facility can easily see the benefits of becoming more objective around their thinking, and living more in the moment. Just agreeing this is a good thing is probably not going to be enough though. We will all have had decades of conditioning that has taught us to be mindless, and this is not going to be overcome with just a couple of meditation sessions.
The current buzz around the practice has led to the rise of the treatment centers mindfulness program. Technically speaking – any rehab that offers yoga or meditation even once a week can claim to teach mindfulness. The problem is that such a brief introduction to this practice is unlikely to be of much benefit to those who have been caught up in the self-destructive thought patterns of addiction for possibly decades. A proper addiction mindfulness rehab facility is going to give you sufficient theoretical and practical experience of using this technique that you will be able to incorporate it into your new life. Here at Hope Rehab Thailand, we offer a comprehensive residential program that will give you a good foundation on which to build on.
One of the particularly unpleasant aspects of being caught up in addiction is the feeling of complete powerlessness – it is like we become a prisoner of our own brain. There may have been many times when you felt determined to change, yet you still ended up back where you started. One of the great benefits of our rehab mindfulness program (along with other approaches such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is it teaches you to manage your own brain. Instead of your life been driven by habitual behaviours, you win back your freedom.
Our residential rehab mindfulness program can be a path towards the inner-peace you have always longed for. Most of us who fall into addiction describe how we always felt uncomfortable in our own skin or like we had a hole in our soul. Alcohol and drugs can seem to make this feeling go away in the beginning, but it actually makes us feel much worse. Mindfulness can help us become at ease with ourselves and the world – it can provide the piece of the jigsaw that we always felt was missing.
The goal of mindfulness practice is learning to be in the moment, to be fully present in the ‘here and now’. Mindfulness is a state of mind that you learn by using techniques to self-regulate your thoughts and feelings through observation. By slowing down you will get in touch with your emotions and learn to handle them and experience them pass. Everything passes! After some practice you will develop the ability to accept experience rather than change it by using or drinking. Your concentration and ability to focus will develop, also characteristics such as patience and tolerance grown stronger. Being in your body or in touch with your physical-self helps manage tension and pain and aids a faster physical recovery. Last but not least: One of the most common relapse problems is the dangerous autopilot and mindful living reduces the chances of this.
The mindfulness program at Hope Rehab is led by Alon Kumsawad and Paul Garrigan and includes:
- Thai-style mindfulness training (the Mahasati ‘great mindfulness’ technique)
Other mindfulness practices including candle meditation, yoga, walking meditation, and tai-chi
Brahma Vihara training (training our minds to develop self-compassion and loving-kindness)
Classes on the theory and practical use of mindfulness (see below)
Weekly one-on-one mindfulness coaching sessions (see below)
Mindfulness journaling (see below)
It would be misleading to suggest that mindfulness alone will be sufficient to ensure your rehabilitation from addiction. It is a powerful tool, but it seems to work best when offered in conjunction with other treatments. This is why our mindfulness program at Hope Rehab Thailand is comprehensive but also part of a larger approach to recovery including other evidence-based therapies. Mindfulness is one core aspect of the treatment offered here at Hope Rehab – along with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), 12-Step work, and wellness/fitness therapy.
The rehab mindfulness program we offer at Hope is unlike anything you will find elsewhere in the world. Our program provides you with instruction on the theory behind this approach as well as how to use it in practice. Some powerful mindfulness practices have been developed locally, and one of these is Mahasati meditation which can be translated as ‘great mindfulness’. This technique is particular good for people in early recovery because it doesn’t require high levels of focus – it is the same technique that is taught to young kids here in Thailand. We also teach other mindfulness practices such as mindful walking, loving-kindness meditation, yoga, and tai-chi. You will be asked to keep a mindfulness journal to encourage you to engage in informal practices too (e.g. be completely present in the moment to enjoy the sunset from our balcony).
The mindfulness program offered at our treatment center covers a comprehensive range of topics including: dealing with cravings, escaping autopilot mode, objectivity around thinking, mindful eating, developing self-compassion, and dealing with relapse triggers. These subjects are covered in our fun twice-weekly rehab mindfulness classes.
One of the unique aspects of our rehab mindfulness program is we provide one-on-one coaching. This gives you the opportunity to discuss your development with an experienced mindfulness coach, and you will be given advice on how to apply this approach to your daily life.
One of the benefits of our having our rehabilitation treatment center located in Thailand is we immersed in a culture that has been practicing mindfulness for thousands of years. Some of the most respected mindfulness teachers in the world (e.g. Ajahn Chah, Luang Por Teean, Luang Por Mun) come from here, and many of the most respected mindfulness teachers in the west (e.g. Joseph Goldstein, Jack Kornfield, and Sharon Salzberg) trained here. Our mindfulness program has a distinctly local flavour to it, and this is what makes it so unique and effective.
Our mindfulness class is where clients learn about the theory and practical aspects of using this approach. There are two classes per week. Some of the topics we cover include:
- Mindfulness for addiction cravings
Escaping auto-pilot mode
Mindfulness relapse prevention
Mindfulness for anxiety and stress
Mindfulness for depression
Mindfulness for anger (and other negative emotions)
Developing mindful relationships
Finding meaning (life purpose) in recovery using mindfulness
Obstacles to mindfulness
We offer meditation and self-compassion training as part of the program here at Hope Rehab. These classes are led by Alon Kumsawad, and she is able to offer an authentic Thai perspective on this Buddhist practice. Alon is an accomplished meditation teacher, and she has already helped many of our clients add this effective tool to their sobriety toolbox.
What normally happens with your thinking when you make a mistake or there are problems in your life? Are your inner thoughts supportive and soothing, or are they negative and bullying (e.g. ‘Why am I such a loser?’). If your thinking tends to be more like the latter, it means you are going to be making a bad situation even worse.
One of the benefits of mindfulness is getting to see that all of those negative judgements you make about yourself are unnecessary. You develop the understanding that you are a fallible human being, and you are going to make mistakes. If your best friend did something unwise, would you use this as an opportunity to bully them and make them feel worse? I’m guessing, probably not. You would probably say something like “Hey, we all make mistakes”.
If you can offer this type of understanding compassion to a friend, why can’t you offer the same to yourself?
Mindfulness compassion practice is going to help you become more aware of what is happening inside of your head, so this should mean you are able to develop more self-compassion. If you are dealing with a lot of inner negativity, it can also be helpful to do some loving-kindness (metta) meditation.
Level 1 of the Hope Mindful Compassion program is delivered during the first month of treatment. The focus at this stage is on learning to be kinder to ourselves and developing sufficient self-compassion, so we are better able to comfortably deal with the ups and downs of reality.
Kindness and Compassion for ourselves – introduction to loving kindness meditation
Resting in the present moment
Your meditation toolbox
How to develop a new relationship with thought
Level 2 of the Hope Mindful Compassion Program is where we begin chipping away at the walls around our heart. We built these defences to protect ourselves from getting hurt, but these walls have created the prison of self-obsession. The work we have done at level 1 means we have less need for this protection, and as we open up more and more, we can begin to discover the joy and freedom we have always yearned for. Level 2 of the program is available to those who stay a second month at Hope.
Loving kindness meditation including others
Freedom from self-obsession
Developing compassion for others
Managing social anxiety
Tonglen practice with a focus on others
Mindful listening and mindful speaking
Becoming the least important person in the room
During level 2 of the Hope Mindful Compassion program, we developed the courage to begin opening up to the world, and we are now going to expand this even further in level 3. Instead of viewing life as a threatening experience where we have to chemically number ourselves to cope, we see how it is an amazing gift. We now feel at home in our own skin, and we begin to develop unconditional positivity. Level 3 is available as part of the second-stage program, or you can also complete it at home via Skype.
Becoming more comfortable in your own skin
Discovering your life purpose
Unconditional positivity – learning to trust life
The joy of sila
The compassionate life
Continuing your journey
If you would like to use mindfulness as part of your recovery from addiction, you will benefit from our program here at Hope Rehab Thailand. We offer our comprehensive addiction mindfulness program along with other effective approaches including CBT, wellness therapy, and 12-Step work. Contact us now to find out more about how mindfulness could help you transform your life.