How Meditation Helps Recovering Addicts

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One of the first steps in dealing with an addiction is determining the underlying cause of it. Through psychotherapy and counseling, addicts get a deeper sense of the circumstances that led to addiction, whether it was fear, curiosity or depression.

Although a recovery program is often necessary, the fact is that treatment centers do not have enough time to complete all of the work that they want, especially in 30-day programs. Soon enough, recovering addicts must return to the world and take on the responsibility of managing their temptations, making smart lifestyle choices and continuing AA and 12-step meetings.

In order to be most successful at following an aftercare plan and staying on the path to recovery, recovering addicts must have healthy coping mechanisms. How will they deal with everyday stress? How will they learn not to be reliant on self medication? What happens when they run into an old friend, or drive past an old hangout?

This is where constructive therapies and coping mechanisms become highly important. Examples include journaling, yoga, acupuncture and meditation. Today, we want to discuss the importance of meditation and how it can help a recovering addict stay on track with their goals for lifelong sobriety.

Meditation and the 12 Steps

Meditation has been shown to be highly effective and beneficial for a number of psychological and physiological conditions, and addiction is no exception. To start, meditation is an excellent way to connect with a Higher Power. The 12 steps are rooted in spirituality, as one of the many goals is to have a spiritual awakening after going through the steps. This is why meditation works well with the 12-step program. Through mindful thinking, recovering addicts can improve their conscious contact with a Higher Power.

Meditation and Self-Destructive Thinking

The art of meditation is also helpful in working past self-destructive thinking. Addicts often feel like something in their life is lacking. They believe that if they had a certain job, more money or a healthy relationship, they would be able to accomplish their long-term goals. Since they do not have this, they try to fill the void in other ways. The pattern of drug abuse is one where there are never any positives, and this puts so much stress and burden on the body, the addict is constantly in an overworked and overtaxed state.

By going through detoxification and treatment, the addict is able to break the habit. But in order to change their thinking so that they do not return to self medication, they need something more. Through mindful meditation, recovering addicts are able to lift themselves up and uncover new levels of strength and awareness. When a recovering addict can finally see that it’s not a particular thing holding them back, but instead it’s their choices, they are able to make real progress in both their short- and long-term recovery.

Meditation and Well Being

Of course, we can’t forget all the other reasons why everyday people use meditation. It’s relaxing. It eases stress. It allows people to get to know themselves better. It improves concentration and focus. Most importantly, it helps people detach from their problems and look at things in a more objective manner. Realizing that you don’t have to beat yourself up over the little things is both empowering and rewarding. It’s better to save your energy for the real battles in life.

Tips for Meditation

Meditation doesn’t require anything more than a quiet, peaceful location. It takes a bit of practice at first, but over time, it becomes very natural. Here are helpful tips for beginners.

  • Dedicate a specific time and place for meditation. Mornings are best because the mind is calmer, and it sets the stage for a happy and productive day. Of course, the most important thing is that you choose a time you can commit to. As for location, select a quiet and protected area where you will not be disturbed.
  • Think about what is most important to you. What are some of the reasons why you’re meditating? Do you hope to lead a life that is free from addiction? Do you want to repair your relationships? Connect with your heart and the things that draw you to meditation.
  • Set your posture. You may sit on a chair or on the floor with a pillow. Don’t lie down, otherwise you may fall asleep. Whichever way you choose to sit, select a posture that leaves you open, receptive and alert. Even though your posture will be erect, your bones and muscles should relax.
  • Work on breathing techniques. Let the self-destructive, negative thinking go. Release envy, jealousy, anger and unrealistic expectations. Remember that no one is judging you.
  • Focus on one thing at a time. The mind is cluttered, and it will try to give attention to many things at once. You must work hard to train the mind to concentrate on a single thought during meditation. This is why many people will often chant a mantra or focus on a single object, as it helps with concentration.
  • Fifteen to 45 minutes of meditation is ideal. When coming to a close, let the senses slowly come back and regulate your breathing. You should feel relaxed, content and aware.

Meditation is a practice that can be used whenever you feel comfortable. It’s an excellent way to rid yourself of negative thinking and emotions while getting to know yourself better. While you don’t have to meditate to stay sober, it is certainly helpful when journeying the road to recovery.