One thing that someone one who is actively using drugs and alcohol knows, it’s a hurry up and wait process, with the find-the-next-hit part of this equation tipping the balance. Thinking about that next drink.
Anxious, panicked even, about that next drug. Frantic. In pain. All in all, as far as one can get from the world of slowing down and emptying the mind.
Meditation in Recovery
Meditation requires practice. Learning about how to breathe and empty the mind takes time and focus, and once learned, is powerful.
Mediation in recovery for addictions and for co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety, have been shown to have many positive benefits on both the mind and body:
- Controlled breathing carries oxygen rich blood to the brain
- Muscles relax, tension is released
- Increased overall energy is experienced with regular practice
- Repressed angers and fears are allowed to surface, and then be addressed
- Letting thoughts come in, looked at without judgment, and then pushed away, helps clear the mind
As meditation skills grow, stressful situations are more easily handled. Cancer patients and others with chronic pain are able to manage their comfort with less medication by using meditation. Addicts and alcoholics in recovery learn to manage triggers, cravings and anxiety.
Bells and incense not required
There are many kinds of meditation, with roots in many parts of the world. Some do incorporate bells and chimes, which brings the mind back to the focus of breathing and “centering.” But others involve simply walking mindfully, or finding a quiet space and just being for a few minutes. Other kinds of meditation use physical movements and various breathing techniques. Albert Einstein even took “meditation naps,” and felt these were critical to clearing his mind in order to let his creativity flow in.
Examples of formal meditation practices helpful in recovery:
- Transcendental meditation
- Zen meditation
- Mindfulness meditation