Does Meditation Work in Recovery?
Recovering from an alcohol or drug addiction typically requires a comprehensive treatment plan. This usually includes talk therapy, support groups, and possibly medication. However, alternative practices can provide vital additional support during recovery. One such alternative practice is meditation.
What is Meditation?
A practice that dates back thousands of years, meditation is often used to enhance one’s spiritual connection and enlightenment. Meditation involves quieting the mind and concentrating on a specific thought or idea, or merely concentrating on one’s breathing. It is usually done in a quiet place without distractions, and can be done in a group or alone.
Meditation doesn’t have a set time frame. Beginners can do it for a few minutes a day, and those more familiar with the practice can do it for an hour or more. There is also no set time of day to practice meditation. However, if one wants to form a meditation practice, then it is recommended to do so at the same time each day. Meditation has nothing to do with religion, and is a spiritual practice.
Different Types of Meditation
Meditation is not just the standard form where an individual sits quietly with their eyes closed and focuses on their breathing. Two popular variations of meditations are:
This is a specific type of meditation in which individuals examine their feelings, thoughts, and experiences in a nonjudgmental way. Unlike addiction, which involves acting on impulses, mindfulness meditation is a purposeful action that allows them to examine their thoughts and urges, and then carefully consider how to react to them.
Some practices combine meditation with physical motion. In a meditative exercise, a person moves through a series of poses designed to increase flexibility and strength, and also improve breathing, such as in yoga. Tai chi and qigong are slightly lesser known forms of meditative exercise.
Meditation and Rehab
One will find many addiction treatment programs that now include meditation in their overall treatment plans. Meditation doesn’t replace other traditional therapies, but instead provides an additional form of support for individuals in recovery. The beauty of meditation is that the individual can practice it even after the treatment is finished and initial recovery is over. This makes meditation a valuable tool and individuals can use it to stay sober throughout their life.
There is increasing research supporting meditation as an effective addiction recovery technique. One study found that individuals recovering from intravenous drug use felt that meditation was one of the best therapy tools they could use to overcome their addiction. Other research has shown that incarcerated individuals who were also substance users, when taught to meditate, had lower levels of relapse and more positive outcomes after being released, as opposed to those who didn’t learn meditation and only received traditional forms of recovery treatments.
Recovery is hard work, but we have the tools to help you. At Blueprints, we teach mindfulness via guided meditation. Call us now to learn more.