Meditation tips for fighting addiction
Updated: Aug 20
Meditation is a mind-body practice that allows people to achieve a state of calmness and relaxation.
Meditation can help people relieve stress and cope with triggers that might lead them to relapse and use drugs or alcohol again.
A variety of meditation practices can be incorporated into an addiction treatment program.
Can Meditation Help You Beat Addiction?
The short answer: yes, meditation has been proven to support addiction recovery by helping you feel calm, cope with triggers, and avoid relapse. While it does not replace a comprehensive addiction treatment program with professional medical support, meditation can be a valuable holistic tool. In fact, many rehabilitation facilities, including Caledonia Recovery Homes, include meditation and mindfulness as therapy techniques. Whether you are still struggling with addiction, in treatment or many years sober, practicing meditation can have important benefits for your recovery.
What is Meditation?
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, meditation is a mind-body activity intended to promote calm and relaxation and help people cope with illnesses and improve well-being. It involves sitting comfortably in a quiet setting, focusing your attention and allowing thoughts and distractions to pass without assessing them. It generally involves deep and purposeful breathing/focus.
Meditation can be guided or unguided. In guided meditation, you will work with a trained meditation or mental health professional. Unguided meditation is practiced on your own. There are apps available to assist you with unguided meditation.
What Kind of Meditation is Right for Me?
The best type of meditation for you will depend upon your preferences. If you enjoy being active, movement meditation might be a good choice for you. If you need to improve your focus and learn to identify body sensations, focused meditation might be suitable. Your treatment team can help you to select a type of meditation that will benefit your addiction recovery.
The Benefits of Meditation
Studies investigating the link between substance use and meditation are ongoing. Recent evidence found mindfulness-based interventions like meditation could reduce the consumption of alcohol, cocaine and amphetamines. Mindfulness practice may also reduce the risk of relapse, as it teaches the practitioner coping methods for discomfort such as drug cravings or the negative effects of substances.
How Meditation Can Help with Addiction
Drug and alcohol addiction can make it difficult for people to cope with everyday stressors without relapsing. Stress, anxiety, poor sleep, pain, depression and drug cravings are common complaints as people adjust to life without substances. These complaints can become triggers that lead to relapse. Multiple studies have found mindful meditation can reduce these symptoms. People who meditate may also feel more aware of their thoughts, less bothered by unpleasant experiences and better able to control their emotions.
Meditation can also help you deal with protracted withdrawal, which involves symptoms like anxiety, difficulty making decisions and strong drug cravings that last for several months after drug use is stopped. SAMHSA recommends that people find ways to exercise their minds and bodies to prevent themselves from relapsing during the protracted withdrawal phase. Meditation is an exercise for the mind.
Evidence on meditation’s effectiveness in addiction treatment has caused some addiction treatment centers to include it in their holistic offerings. One study found that meditation increased activity in brain areas associated with self-control among smokers. The study’s authors concluded that meditation could be useful for treating and preventing addiction.
Incorporating Meditation into Recovery
Incorporating meditation into daily life can help you, whether you are days, months or years into recovery. You can start to reap the benefits of daily meditation as soon as you begin. To practice meditation for recovery, you can:
· Sign up for a yoga or meditation class
· Check in with the body to notice the sensations you experience
· Repeat positive thoughts
· Take a relaxing walk
Concentrate on love, gratitude and happiness
If you’re in professional addiction treatment, you can consult with your care team to incorporate meditation into your treatment and even learn advanced skills. Building new skills does not happen quickly, so patience while learning and practicing this new coping technique is essential.
Seek Holistic Addiction Treatment That Includes Meditation
Effective, lifelong recovery starts by treating the whole person, not just the substance use disorder. This means treating the underlying mental health issues at the root of addiction and providing patients with tools they need for a healthier, more satisfying life.
At Caledonia Recovery Homes, we offer a comprehensive addiction treatment program that includes holistic treatment options, including mindfulness meditation, recreational therapies, self-care activities, aftercare services and relapse prevention programs. Meditation is a valuable part of these services for interested clients. Contact us to learn about admissions, treatment options and how our programs can help you begin living a substance-free life.
Medical Disclaimer: Caledonia Recovery Homes aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.