The Evolution Group in Albuquerque, a counseling and support center specializing in addiction and mental health, wants to change this. The Evolution Group incorporates meditation into its programs to help address the personal issues that may lead to addiction.
People with drug or alcohol addictions are often unwilling to confront difficult or unpleasant emotions or thoughts. A growing number of groups, such as the Evolution Group, are teaching meditation to addicts to help them cope with complicated feelings. Meditation allows people to accept uncomfortable feelings and sensations and eventually detach themselves from them.
The Mindful Center started offering a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction program in 2012 for repeat offenders arrested for driving under the influence (DWI). MBSR was developed in the 1970s by Jon Kabat Zinn as a group meditation to treat chronic pain, mental illness, and addiction. The Evolution Group program includes individual and group therapy and MBSR sessions led by Michelle DuVal. She is an experienced mindfulness teacher and director of The Mindful Center in Albuquerque.
Treatment Courts are often used to describe compassion-based programs, such as the Evolution Group MBSR. Treatment courts are more effective than prison because they view addiction as a mental disorder rather than a moral failure. Treatment courts use a holistic approach, which includes financial planning, family reunification, and meditation. Participants are given the tools to recover from addiction on a long-term basis.
DuVal says that although some group members initially strongly resist meditation as a treatment for addiction, they often undergo powerful personal transformations by the time the MBSR program is over. They attribute this to the coping tools, self-regulation techniques, and self-awareness meditation has taught them.
The Evolution Group’s MBSR Program is one of many programs and organizations that incorporate meditation and yoga in their treatment plans.
The Prison Mindfulness Institute An organization that helps inmates, prison staff, and their families integrate mindfulness-based tools into interactions with others. The Institute offers yoga classes, literary programs, and a range of training.
Mindful School: This organization began in Oakland, California, in a classroom. It has since expanded to offer mindfulness training to thousands of parents and teachers who work with children in various capacities.
Light A Path: This volunteer-driven program, based in Asheville, North Carolina, works with local schools and addiction recovery centers, as well as area prisons, to provide meditation, yoga, and other therapeutic services for those in need.