Addiction is often an attempt to go somewhere else emotionally and mentally. Your mind is usually focused on how to get your substance of choice, taking steps to acquire it, using it, or recovering from the effects. Very little time and energy are spent noticing the present moment, except to try and change your experience. The present becomes little more than a constant agitated state. The practice of mindfulness, defined as non-judgmental awareness of the present moment, is an effective tool in addiction treatment.
First of all, by increasing your ability to accept and tolerate the present moment, you become more able to make needed changes in your life. You learn to deal with uncomfortable feelings that might accompany modified behaviors, rather than reacting on automatic pilot. Also, practicing balanced emotional responses can reduce your stress level, and anxiety and stress are often triggers for substance abuse and addictive behavior. In addition, when you choose a neutral rather than a judgmental response to your thoughts and feelings, you can increase your sense of self-compassion rather than beating yourself up, which is often associated with addictive behaviors.