You’re here, right now, in this moment, reading this blog. Are you fully present? You might ask yourself, “Where else could I be?” You see your body. You know you are reading this blog. Here you are. Are you really here? If you took just a moment to observe your thoughts, to become present with where your mind is right now, this very instant, is it only, exclusively, devotedly here, reading this blog? It’s likely you’re wondering what the point is, what you’ll learn by the end of this blog, what you’ll read next, if you should be reading this, what your plan for dinner is, the itching sensation on your left foot, and a host of other thoughts. Being exclusively present to just one thought is extremely difficult and requires . Being present to all thoughts, and being present in spite of, or in harmony with, those thoughts, is still challenging, but possible. Until this moment, you may not have fully realized how many thoughts were going on in your head and how pulled away from reading this article you are. Some people are startled when they jump into the flowing stream of the present for a second. Are you like that all the time, how out of the present are you and how often? How do you get in the present more often? What are the possibilities of being present as much as possible? Take a deep breath and focus on the air coming in through your nose, filling your lungs, then going out through your nose and deflating your lungs. Come back to this moment. That’s all it takes, plus a little practice.
Mindfulness and meditation practices are accessible ways to practice being in the moment and being present. Present-awareness practices like mindfulness and meditation are proven to increase brain matter, change brain structure, reduce stress, and reduce disease-causing inflammation. With such benefits, it would seem that we would want to be and find a way to be present all the time.
The School Of Life writes for Huffington Post, “The present always contains an enormous number of possibilities, some hugely gruesome, which we are constantly aware of in the background. Anything could theoretically happen…which gives rise to the non-specific anxiety that trails most of us around all the time; the simple dread at the unknownness of what is to come.”
Living life in a state of concern for any point in time other than the now is something that men who have been addicted to drugs and alcohol are familiar with. Addiction creates a hyper-present as well as a hypo-present. A lack of regard for consequence keeps them out of the future, caused by the way chemical dependency on drugs and alcohol alters the brain. Hyper focus on the immediacy of the brain’s psychological as well as the body’s physical demands keeps them in now-right-now, which may not be the present at all. Often, troubling events of the past which contribute to addiction are also keeping them locked in the past.
Learning to be truly, authentically present is a challenge men rise to when they make the decision to seek treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. Being present with the self and the world, with all of its chaos and discomfort, is a challenge to rise to in order to abstain from returning to a life where the present is dictated by drugs and alcohol.
Tree House Recovery is a men’s treatment program located in Portland, Oregon. Creating sustainable recovery through sustainable change, our programs help men learn how to live sober with adventurous lives. Call us today for information: (503) 850-2474