Addiction comes in many forms and the effects it can have on physical and mental health can be substantial. Fortunately, there are some practices that those suffering from drug and alcohol addiction can engage in to dramatically improve their chances of recovery.
Most people abuse drugs and alcohol because they believe it provides a “distraction”. It is one of the few things that addicts routinely claim offers them any true comfort – some relief as it were from the irritations and agitations experienced in a normal daily life. Addicts in essence want to “fill the void”, the hollowness that is so incredibly common in modern society – that overwhelming sense that things are just ever so slightly out of reach.
Drugs and alcohol, however mistakenly, are essentially seen and used as solutions to the problem of this inner angst. Regardless of the substance you or a loved one are struggling with, there are better options available that can be used to improve mental and physical health and someone’s station in life – and it has been used for millennia as a way to feel more connected with ourselves and our place within the universe; it’s called meditation.
Any mention of meditation, of course, often conjures up images of yogis sitting with crossed legs on a mountain top, but there are actually many ways to meditate – transcendental meditation, breath awareness meditation, progressive relaxation, and the type that has captured the attention of health and wellness experts the world over recently, mindfulness meditation.
Mindfulness meditation is the practice of being fully immersed in what is happening, what you are doing in a particular moment, and to your surroundings – and nothing else.
Using mindfulness meditation for addiction recovery is a good option because the practice requires people/addicts to be fully present, aware of where they are and what they are doing and not reacting to everything happening outside of their own mind – which can be distracting and lead to situations where less than optimal decisions are made.
Let’s take a quick look at the benefits of mindfulness meditation and how to go about getting started with the practice.
Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation for Addicts
In addition to a generally improved level of health and quality of life, those in recovery that start to meditate also notice reduced anxiety and depression, better concentration and a better ability to cope with typical stresses. With such a strong foundation, it is easy to see how the practice of mindfulness meditation can improve the long-term chances of recovery from addiction.
Mindfulness meditation does have its detractors, of course, primarily because it is seen as trivial, but the benefits of regular meditation are often proven significant and its impact on addiction can be notable.
Meditation for Addiction Recovery
Everyone does mindfulness meditation a little differently, but here are some basics to get you started: + Designate a certain time of day and the length of time you will meditate.+ Find a quiet, comfortable place where you will not be disturbed.+ Sit up straight with your hands laid gently on one another in your lap.+ Intentionally relax your muscles and take several slow, deep breaths.+ As you exhale, physically imagine you are dropping your worries like a heavy bag. + Focus on your breath; it’s pace, volume, even temperature. + Start with a few minutes each day and keep building.
The Secret to Mindfulness Meditation
As your mind and body have begun to relax, the next (and most important) step is to bring your attention back to your thoughts and feelings; everything – from the memories and images in your mind to the wishes and life plans. That might seem counterintuitive to the concept of meditating but mindfulness meditation is not about thinking about these things but rather being aware they exist and becoming comfortable with them.
Meditation is not a substitute for a formal recovery plan but it can provide those suffering from addiction greater confidence and peace of mind.
Can meditation really help with addiction?
The reason that mindfulness meditation is so powerful is that it helps those in recovery to focus energy on what is most important – your relationship with yourself, a sense of connection with others and the world around us.
Substance abuse is a serious issue but those suffering from addiction have options. While mindfulness meditation is effective, recovering addicts should consider the services of a halfway home, which is where Stairway to Freedom Sober Living can help. Located in the Chicago area, our sober living community is an alternative to a traditional halfway home and offers the support and structure that you or your loved one needs for long-term recovery.