Blogs


Notices

Mindful craving

Old 02-19-2012, 07:54 AM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 40
Mindful craving

A couple weeks ago, 9 1/2 months into recovery, I sat down at a table in a Japanese restaurant to await a dinner companion. I was in a great mood...excited about eating sushi, excited about spending time with my friend and going to the movies, excited that it was a Friday night. I opened the menu and immediately my eyes latched onto "hot sake". Wham -- there I was hit with my first craving since cleaning up. I was consumed with WANT and got lost briefly in a little fantasy, watching it happen -- euphoric recall and all. It caught me really off-guard and my immediate reaction was fear. A WTF-where-did-this-come-from? kind of fear.

I babbled here a few months back about taking to mindfulness. Learning to disidentify with thoughts, feelings, sensations -- watch them come, maybe hang out for a while, then be on their way. Bringing it to bear on depression, anxiety, anger, reactivity...learning not to let my mind have its way with me. I believed that it would be a great skill to have in the face of an urge to use and had hoped that if/when one did hit I'd be able to experience it with, as they say, "spacious awareness". Well, it wasn't immediate, as I wasn't at all in a mindful state when opening that menu, but before long it became clear that this craving was nothing special and nothing to fear. I saw it as "craving is happening" rather than "I am craving". Then I deconstructed it into a physical urge, a feeling of want, and a collection of thoughts, taking none of them personally, experiencing them non-judgmentally, even "pre-conceptually" (just stuff happening). Not getting hooked by it, and not pushing it away; just letting it be and staying present with it. Suddenly it seemed like anything else I've been learning to experience mindfully in recent months and it receded from the forefront of awareness, became just a subset of what was happening in that moment. Shortly the rest of the menu and the art on the walls became more interesting and my urge to drink vanished. I greeted my companion when she arrived and we had a lovely meal. We went to see My Week with Marilyn, which seemed to us a splendid flick.

Mindfulness rocks.
Augie is offline  
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Augie For This Useful Post:
freshstart57 (02-26-2012), soberlicious (02-25-2012), SparklingSeven (02-21-2012), Zencat (02-20-2012), zxcirce (02-19-2012)
Old 02-19-2012, 08:10 AM
  # 2 (permalink)  
recovering using AVRT
 
sober4metoday's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Planet Earth
Posts: 294
I think my love affair with sushi began because of my love affair with sake. I knew every time I said, "Hey let's get sushi!" I was really craving the drink.

I'm newly sober and reading about these types of experiences helps me visualize what I crave today - a healthy and sober way of living.
sober4metoday is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to sober4metoday For This Useful Post:
Augie (02-25-2012)
Old 02-19-2012, 10:13 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 181
The craving only has power if we give it power. It's a thought, something that happens in our bodies, nothing more--until we build it up, fight it, fear it.

Great post.
zxcirce is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to zxcirce For This Useful Post:
Augie (02-25-2012)
Old 02-19-2012, 01:02 PM
  # 4 (permalink)  
JEANS
 
Jeans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Manchester
Posts: 132
I've had quite a lot of cravings and everytime I deal with it and resist alcohol I feel euphor.ic for a day or two afterwards. It's the best feeling in the world.

Think of it as a positive experience. Well done for staying sober
Jeans is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Jeans For This Useful Post:
Augie (02-25-2012)
Old 02-20-2012, 09:34 PM
  # 5 (permalink)  
☯ ⓌⒾⓁⓁ☯
 
Zencat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Oxnard (The Nard), CA, USA.
Posts: 8,279
Blog Entries: 12
Thanks for the share Augie.

Detaching from a craving thought then bringing my attention elsewhere like my surroundings takes the power away from the craving. Its liberating to experience my somewhat disciplined mind as my friend vs the wild mind of an active addict feeling powerless over my thoughts and actions.
Zencat is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Zencat For This Useful Post:
Augie (02-25-2012)
Old 02-25-2012, 08:40 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 40
Originally Posted by Zencat View Post
Its liberating to experience my somewhat disciplined mind as my friend vs the wild mind of an active addict feeling powerless over my thoughts and actions.
You're right, it does require discipline. I guess all that time I've been spending in meditation might be regarded as training.

Curious to me that I don't see more on mindfulness/disidentification (and the particular types of meditation in which the skill is developed) applied to addiction. I guess in one sense there's nothing special about an urge to use, in that the mindful response need not differ from that for anxiety or anger or pain, so any of the vast literature on mindfulness would be relevant, but I'd think that seeing it applied would be encouraging to anyone looking for secular approaches to getting/staying clean. I can only find a couple books on the subject that aren't tied to the steps, with which mindfulness doesn't inherently have anything to do.
Augie is offline  
Old 02-25-2012, 10:55 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: "I'm not lost for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost ..."
Posts: 5,272
Originally Posted by augie
I guess in one sense there's nothing special about an urge to use, in that the mindful response need not differ from that for anxiety or anger or pain,
I agree, it's not the "thing", it's what we do with the "thing". They are all the same to me.

so any of the vast literature on mindfulness would be relevant, but I'd think that seeing it applied would be encouraging to anyone looking for secular approaches to getting/staying clean.
You just shared it in action, and indeed it is encouraging. Thanks for the powerful post.
soberlicious is offline  
Old 02-26-2012, 02:56 PM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Self recovered Self discovered
 
freshstart57's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Toronto Canada
Posts: 5,147
Yay, Augie. What you described, and described so perfectly, is exactly what I am trying to do. Your post can serve as a manual for what I have heard called 'Urge Surfing'. I started my sobriety with the AVRT thing, dis-identifying with that urge, but I see now that mindfulness is SO much more powerful than just a tool for battling addiction. It has many many applications, and is becoming a big part of my life. I like it.
freshstart57 is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to freshstart57 For This Useful Post:
Bob36 (03-06-2012)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:01 PM.