Beverly Conyers

Beverly Conyers

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I began writing about addiction in 2003 after discovering that my younger daughter had become addicted to heroin. I wanted to learn everything I could about the disease and also to help others who were struggling to cope with a loved one’s addiction. Over the years, I grew increasingly interested in the process of recovery, which led me to confront the destructive role that alcohol has played in my own life. I’ve come to believe that most addictions (including compulsive behaviors and self-defeating thought patterns) are an attempt to escape the pain of simply being who we are (or who we think we are). My fourth book, FIND YOUR LIGHT: PRACTICING MINDFULNESS TO RECOVER FROM ANYTHING, explores how mindfulness can support recovery by gently guiding us toward self-knowledge, self-acceptance, self-compassion, and self-love. Q & A WITH BEVERLY CONYERS HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ADDICTION? Addiction is rampant in our society and takes many forms, including substance use, disordered eating, gambling, compulsive Internet use, hoarding, video game addiction, porn or sex addiction, and self-defeating thought patterns. These problematic patterns of thinking and behaving enter the realm of addiction when they create persistent, serious problems in our life. These can include fractured relationships, workplace problems, and compromised mental and physical health. WHAT'S BEHIND ALL THESE ADDICTIVE BEHAVIORS? Most people with addictions live with deep feelings of shame and inadequacy – the belief that we’re just not “good enough” as we are. These painful feelings of being fundamentally unacceptable – which often operate at a subconscious level -- help fuel addiction and undermine recovery. We’re constantly looking for distractions and escape because we find it so hard to be alone with our thoughts – most of which are based on deeply ingrained but ultimately false ideas about ourselves and our world. HOW CAN MINDFULNESS HELP WITH RECOVERY? Addiction is about escape. Mindfulness is about awareness. It opens our eyes to new ways of understanding ourselves and our world. It helps us recognize the false beliefs and damaging thoughts that prevent us from finding happiness and peace of mind. It teaches us to value all living things, including ourselves, and allows us to see ourselves as part of a greater whole. As awareness grows, we begin to awaken our innate talents, strengths, and moral goodness. And by learning to let go of the automatic thoughts that consume so much of our mental energy, we free ourselves to discover who we really are. We find out what really matters to us and develop the values, sense of purpose, and self-discipline that lay the foundation for genuine happiness.
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