Alcoholism and substance addiction are complex conditions which affect millions of people around the world. To recover fully from an addiction, you need a comprehensive treatment plan. Many addicts and alcoholics benefit from talk therapy, support groups and where necessary, prescribed medication. Some require more; a complementary alternative medicine (CAM,) to which meditation falls into as a category.
What is meditation?
When some people hear the word “meditation”, their minds wander to cults and darkened rooms, where people sit and chant. There’s nothing wrong with a vivid sense of imagination, but meditation is not merely superstitious. The practise runs deeper; it is a thousand-year exercise recognised for its enriching rewards.
“Meditation is often used to improve spiritual connections and enlightenment with one’s soul. It involves shutting the mind of all noise and distraction, to focus on a thought or an idea. Therefore, it is important to meditate in a very quiet environment. You could choose to do so alone or in groups, for synchronised support. Meditation is good for socializing and can be done regardless of religion or spiritual beliefs.” explains health specialist from Batson ChiroHealth Group.
There is no specific duration for a meditation session; it can range from a few minutes, to an hour or two; though Grand Master Buddhists have been reported to meditate for days. Try to maintain a routine to enable practise.
In Connection to Rehab
It is not surprising to see why many alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs have added meditation to their comprehensive list of procedures. It does not replace therapies; instead, it gives additional support for addicts in the early stages of recovery. A health benefit of meditation is that those in recovery can practise it, even after they have concluded their original course of treatment. This makes meditation a valuable technique for continued sobriety.
Science Supports the Benefits of Meditation
There is proven scientific research that supports how valuable meditation is to recovering addicts. For instance; in one study, it was concluded that People Who Inject Drugs (PWID) reported meditation as one of the best therapies for overcoming their addiction. Scientists who examined prison inmates discovered that those who learned to meditate had reduced chances of a relapse and had more positive outcomes after release, than inmates who didn’t practice meditation.
Research has also shown the positive effects of meditation, when combined with physical exercise. For example; Yoga sessions, accompanied by meditation, are very effective techniques for an addiction recovery.
How Meditation Works
Addiction is a cycle which is formed when the brain ‘learns’ to function in a manner which is contrary to its normal pattern. An example of this is a visual trigger; when an addict sights a Marijuana ‘bong,’ triggers are sent to the brain, bringing about feelings of pleasure; inciting a craving. By focusing on the right path during meditation, the brain can ‘re-learn’ not to associate harmful triggers with relief. Meditation has been proven to re-wire the brain’s critical pathways.
Meditation is not overly complex and can be learned with practise. The idea is to remain focused and committed to your goal. With time, your sobriety will become easier.