Although psychotherapy and group counseling continue to be one of the main approaches to any effective addiction recovery program, many detox clinics and rehab facilities are opening up to alternative methods. One of these is the use of meditation. Addiction treatment centers are finding that it both complements and heightens the effectiveness of traditional therapies.
But what is meditation? And how can it be an effective tool as you recover from drug and alcohol addiction? Let's take a look at some of the benefits you may discover if you incorporate meditation into your recovery process.
Although it stems from eastern religious practices, meditation is more than just sitting in the lotus position chanting "ohm." Basically, it's an exercise where you seek to focus both your mind and body in an effort to find relaxation and peace. The most common form of meditation used in addiction recovery is mindfulness meditation.
When you are in the midst of dealing with addiction, there is usually an emotional aspect at its root. This could be fear, depression, anxiety or other unwholesome thoughts or beliefs about yourself. When you utilize mindfulness meditation, you bring your complete attention to the present moment without judgment or labels. You allow yourself to see your negative emotions displayed clearly for what they are, and then you can deal with them in a healthy and safe environment.
In the realm of addiction recovery, many view the use of meditation or mindfulness meditation with skepticism. However, more and more research supports that it not only aids the recovery process, but it's also an effective method of avoiding relapse. The improved mental focus and increased calm and self-awareness detach you from negative thoughts and impulses. Meditation also provides a number of psychological and physical benefits, including:
But most importantly, mindfulness meditation helps retrain your mind. Characteristics you once thought were unchangeable are seen for what they really are — qualities of your personality that can be altered. If you struggle with anger, for example, you can find ways to remain calm. If depressive thoughts plague you, you can start to see hope and happiness in your life.
You don't have to be religious or even spiritual to practice meditation. Depending on who is teaching or leading you, there are a variety of techniques to try, from breathing exercises to the use of mantras. However, there are a few common guidelines you can follow if you want to begin practicing meditation:
There is no set amount of time for meditation. It can last a few minutes at first, and then as you get in the swing of it, you could try for longer. Just be aware of your surroundings and your present thoughts and feelings without attempting to analyze them.
Diamond House Detox utilizes a variety of holistic methods in our treatment programs, including meditation. Since no two patients are the same, we individualize our techniques to focus on your particular goals and needs. If you are struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol, contact us today to learn more about our detox clinic located in Northern California.
Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on September 14th, 2018.