Drug and alcohol recovery is so much more than simply attaining sobriety. The main purpose of recovery is to help you understand how you can prosper through life without the use of drugs and alcohol. For this reason, many treatment facilities are turning to yoga as a means of helping their patients attain this prosperity.
What is meditation?
Yoga International defines meditation as “a precise technique for resting the mind and attaining a state of consciousness that is totally different from the normal waking state.”
If that sounds a bit complex, it’s because the practice of meditation is. There are so many different types of meditation to practice, all of which focus on different aspects of your physicality, psychology, emotions, and spirituality. Keep in mind, there technically is no right way to meditate. How you go about and what you take from the experience is entirely up to you!
Reaching a meditative state
The purpose of meditation is to rid the mind of all thoughts and, in turn, achieve a meditative state. For those who haven’t experienced this firsthand, it’s quite difficult to explain. In fact, many of those who do practice meditation claim it’s something no language can describe.
In essence, when you reach a meditative state, you’re becoming one with your spiritual self. It has often been described as blissful or tranquil, similar to that of a “high” produced by drugs and alcohol. However, the big takeaway here is that many who practice meditation while in addiction recovery claim it’s better than the “high” any substance could offer. And this is due to the connection you develop with your spiritual self.
No matter what your religion is, we all have our beliefs about our lives and the world around us. People who meditate, in many regards, try to come closer to those beliefs. They try to unlock a part of their consciousness that’s often ignored and develop an understanding of themselves.
When achieved properly, this state of mind becomes an experience that’s not only beyond words but also completely personal to you. Unfortunately, the only way to truly understand it is by trying it for yourself.
Meditation (especially along exercises such as yoga) has a way of relaxing the body. Over time, your body will receive physical benefits, including:
- Decrease tension-related pain
- Increase energy
- Increase serotonin
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower heart rate
- Regular muscle relaxation
However, when it comes to addiction recovery, one of the biggest perks about mediation is it helps ease withdrawal symptoms. This is especially important during detox, when all the chemicals brought upon by drugs or alcohol are cleansed from your body.
This phase is known for its intense discomfort and one of the biggest reasons many fail to recovery from drugs or alcohol. Within a treatment facility, you’ll be given medication and surrounded by medical professionals who’ll do everything in their power to curb your discomfort. However, only so much can be done. And one of the best ways to further ease withdrawal symptoms is to meditate.
Psychological and emotional benefits
Meditation is known the bring the following psychological and emotional benefits to those who practice it:
- Decreased anxiety
- Decreased stress
- Improved emotional stability
- Improved focus
- Peace of mind
These psychological and emotional factors of meditation are going to play a vital role after detox. At this stage in the recovery process, you’ll be offered a variety of psychotherapies. These are to educate you on your thought patterns and change it to prevent relapse. Though it’s simple to describe, it’s a very difficult process for many overcoming their battle with addiction.
It takes a lot of willpower to discover where your life has gone wrong and make the necessary changes. Even with that willpower, it takes a lot of trial and error in order to truly understand this aspect of yourself.
By practicing meditation during this stage in recovery, you’re taking the time to figure these problems out. You’ll enter a state of mind that clear the mind of cluttered thoughts and begin to picture where you need to take your life.
People of all walks of life are most attracted to mediation when they’re seeking out a spiritual side of themselves. Meditation is proclaimed to bring the following spiritual benefits to those who practice it:
- Connection with oneself
Spirituality plays a major role in the recovery process. By tuning into the spiritual side of yourself, you’re getting in touch with both your mind and body. You’re developing your conscious understanding of who you are and what your purpose is. Through this understanding, it’s hoped that when you leave the addiction facility, you’ll go into the world to spiritually prosper.
Types of meditation
As mentioned, there is no right way to meditate. The experience is entirely up to you and decided by what you want out of it. Still, even with that, it can be difficult to know where to begin. In order to help you get started, here are some meditation practices to keep in mind as you go about the recovery process:
If you’d like to be guided through your first few meditation experiences, we recommend you seek out a meditation proctor. This can be a person you meet up with in real time or someone who’s recorded their guided meditation practice. S/he will guide you through your meditation experience with imagery and calming sounds.
Mantra meditation is used by many cultures and it’s the practice of repeating a chant or thought of a mantra, syllable, or word. The purpose of this is to help you focus and keep your attention on a single thought.
Mindfulness meditation is the most free-range of everything else on our list. The purpose is to allow yourself to tune into the present moment and accept the various thoughts and emotions that may come your way. Mindfulness meditation is one of the most effective in the recovery process.
Zen meditation works a bit differently than other meditations as its main goal is to focus on your breathing. Similar to mindfulness meditation, you’re still meant to focus on the present moment and any emotions that may arise. However, you’ll do so through breathing exercises and by seating yourself on the floor in a lotus (or half-lotus) position.