How can Boulder Addictions Counseling help me?

Working with Tom transformed my life. I no longer feel trapped. I’m free.
— One of our clients

Boulder Addictions Counseling uses mindfulness, stemming from a Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention (MBRP) approach, which is based on Jon Kabat-Zinn’s Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. This program is designed to bring practices of mindful awareness to individuals who have suffered from addiction. The program fosters increased awareness of triggers, destructive habitual patterns, and automatic reactions that can often control many aspects of one’s life.

Mindfulness blends ancient wisdom traditions with recent psychological and neurobiological discoveries. It is a simple method that has been used to alleviate suffering for thousands of years. Instead of rushing toward pleasure and running from pain, mindfulness teaches one to open up to whatever is happening in the present moment. And whether it is torment or bliss, it can be embraced for exactly what it is. By observing our own life experiences without judgment or instant reaction, we are capable of living freer, more fulfilling lives.

In some form or another, we can all be considered addicts. Even if we never become hooked on drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes, we rely on other things in an effort to avoid pain and cling to pleasure. Whether it’s eating, sleeping, gambling, exercising, shopping, watching TV, reading, surfing the internet, being in love, or having sex, almost any activity can be addicting. All addictions involve being enslaved by our desires. Desire is part of being human, and the wish to feel good and escape emotional or physical pain is deeply rooted.

Boulder Addictions Counseling acknowledges that one of the reasons addictions can be so hard to overcome is that even if they have disastrous consequences, the addictive behaviors initially feel good. Addictive behaviors are things one keeps doing even though they are harmful. In fact, some addicts will experience such intense cravings they would be willing to crawl across broken glass or pawn precious items to find relief.

A craving is a consuming desire or yearning. A craving can be rooted in the subconscious mind, making it quite difficult to avoid. Even those who have been successfully sober for many years can still experience cravings. However, if the cravings are coming from the subconscious, individuals experiencing cravings are not responsible for their presence. These cravings can be viewed as alien visitors in the mind. They do not have to be obeyed. Boulder Addictions Counseling encourages their clients to be mindful, so that they are able to see that cravings will appear and disappear, much like clouds passing through the sky. And often, simply acknowledging that the craving is there will be enough to make it disappear. Instead of living in fear of these cravings, the mindful observer can observe them and allow them to subside—never needing to act on them.

Through the use of mindfulness, Boulder Addictions Counseling can help clients get down to the root of their symptoms by focusing on thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns, as well as urges and cravings. This approach can help those who are new to recovery or already in long-term recovery. With curiosity and compassion when relating to experience, it is possible to remap the brain and affect the way it functions as well as the way it influences the body—creating a life of joy and freedom!

Questions?

Here are a few questions we hear frequently that might be helpful. See our Questions page for even more questions and answers, or call us and ask us your own questions for free, personal feedback.