You might be surprised at how effective meditation for addiction recovery can be. Find out how to start your own therapeutic meditation practice.
What Is Meditation?
Meditation is a practice where an individual uses a technique such as mindfulness or focusing the mind on an object, thought, or activity- to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. When you set specific intentions on meditation for addiction, it can be extremely therapeutic.
The term mindfulness describes a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. Understanding the importance of mindfulness is key to getting as much as possible out of meditating.
If you can focus on what is happening in your present surroundings, you may find relief from some of the worry and fear of what has happened in the past, or what may happen in the future.
Here are some tips to help you begin your meditation therapy journey with mindfulness:
Close your eyes and…
- Feel the chair your sitting in.
- Feel your feet in your socks or bare on the floor.
- Feel your hands resting in your lap.
- Ask yourself if these surfaces are soft, hard, warm, cool, etc…
- What do you hear? Music playing or voices, cars outside, the wind, electricity, birds, etc…
- Focus on your breathing. Is it quick or labored, or slow and controlled and deep?
- Start to focus your attention on calming your body physically by relaxing the muscles in your face, neck, and shoulders, then arms and hands. Then relaxing your chest, hips, legs, and feet, while slowing down your breathing to a natural and comfortable pace.
Starting your meditation therapy with mindfulness may be something you have to learn, but eventually, with practice, it will become innate, and your body and mind will start to do these techniques naturally and without thought.
Incorporate Meditation Into Your Recovery
At Oregon Trail Recovery we start with meditation at the beginning of each of our recovery groups. We have found that it helps our clients slow down their thinking, feelings, and bodies that have been charged up during the events of the day, which allows them an easier transition into focusing on the topics discussed during group time. During these meditations, they learn how to release anxiety, fear, and frustration and replace those elements with a calming spirit, restoration of peace, and stability of mind.
Psychological and physical benefits from meditation:
- Decreased blood pressure for those at risk of hypertension
- Immune system enhancement
- Pain relief
- Stress management
- Reduction in depressive symptoms
- Better sleep
Meditation, especially for alcoholics and addicts, can cause positive long-term changes in brain structure and function as well. If you have been abusing a substance in large quantities or for long periods of time, you have probably noticed changes in your thinking and memory. Studies show that the long-term practice of meditation can heal, restructure, and regain previously lost or damaged functions in the brain.
How Meditation Improves Brain Function:
- Speeding up information processing
- Improved decision making
- Enhanced memory function
- Slowed or reversed age-related changes in the brain
- Decreased gray matter in the amygdala, which plays a role in anxiety and stress
The power of positive thought can renew minds and bodies, so stay hopeful that you can regain what you may have lost during your addiction and allow meditation to be a part of your healing. What works for one person may not be what works for another, and there are many formats for meditating.
Guided Meditation Recommendations:
If you are interested in daily meditation for Alcoholics Anonymous, Daily Reflections is available to you as a reading every day of the year that focuses on recovery from alcohol. You can get it in a book or it is also available online or for your phone via an app.
If you are interested in daily meditation for Narcotics Anonymous, Just for Today is available to you as a reading every day of the year that focuses on recovery from addiction. You can get it in a book or it is also available online or for your phone via an app.
If you like to hear guided meditations for addiction recovery, the possibilities are endless. There are countless videos on YouTube, ranging from 5 minutes to an hour that are focused on recovery topics and by the voice of your choosing for free.
If you like apps, Headspace has a free trial that gives you a taste of the different choices of music, nature, voice, and self-led or body-scan style meditations for you to check out before you buy, and Audible has lots of meditation options.
If you are interested in looking for faith-based meditations, one option is Abide. These meditations are based on God’s word in the Bible. We encourage you to try all different types of mediations until you find the one that best fits your style.
We are here for you 24 hours a day and 7 days a week and will help you plan a path to restoration and peace of your mind, body, and spirit.