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Anywhere but the Present

As individuals who use substances to cope, we may spend much of our time in the past or the future. Substances appear to help us avoid sadness, or help to mitigate anxiety, worry, and fear. Being in the present moment alleviates us of these negative emotions, but how can this be done? We almost have an comfortable obsession with the past and the future.

Mindfulness and meditation are great coping skills that can be learned easily and utilized quickly to bring you back to center, back to the present. In fact, mindfulness is so practical, you could utilize this skill in public and no one would be the wiser. One of my go to meditation apps is Headspace.


I confess, I have only ever utilized the free segment of this app. The introductory 10 part series is a great way to familiarize yourself with meditation. A quick search in the appstore for any smart phone will yield a plethora of additional apps that you can download, many of which are free. Additionally, a quick google search for "meditation videos" will yield many YouTube videos. Some are guided, some are muscle relaxation, some are body scan (meditation-mindfulness hybrid!).

Mindfulness and meditation go hand and hand, and they can be the same skill, but not necessarily. Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment. One way to do this is to connect with your five basic senses, spending between 1 - 3 minutes honing in on each one, one at a time. However, there are many other ways to practice this. Here is a more detailed explanation that also touches on meditation.