Tom Catton: The Mindful Addict

Tom Catton: The Mindful Addict

(Hawaii News Now) - The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that nearly nine percent — around 22.5 million — of Americans 12 and older are regular users of illicit drugs, as indicated by data collected in 2011. Adults 18 or older on parole, probation or supervised release from jail had rates of illicit drug use over four times higher than those who were not.

A recovering addict since October 1971, Tom Catton knows all too well the destructive nature of drugs and spent his early years struggling with heroin and LSD in an attempt to find a sense of peace and acceptance. Catton, a California native who currently lives on the Big Island, eventually found himself on the North Shore of Oahu in the late 1960s where he crossed paths with an enigmatic woman by the name of Flobird.

A former alcoholic turned 12-step mentor, Flobird became Catton's spiritual guide and taught him the basis for what would help keep him drug free for over 40 years — meditation. Catton started meditating in 1966 and has been initiated into many different techniques over the years. For the past 20 years, he has practiced a form known as mindfulness.

Step 11 of the 12-step program is meditation and prayer, and mindfulness is a method that many people have adopted in order to achieve this step. It is a Buddhist teaching that focuses on becoming present in the moment and achieving a calm awareness of the mind and body. It may seem hokey to some, but the practice has been embraced by many psychologists and therapists.

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