When a person first enters recovery, it is often the case that their substance of choice has been their primary coping tool for many years. As a result, any coping skills they once knew may now be rusty from disuse. And the person may lack other life management strategies entirely. Recovery is a time to learn and strengthen new coping skills. And to rebuild forgotten ones to replace the substances a person is leaving behind.
Favorable Things About Meditation
It may initially be uncomfortable to start a new practice, such as meditation. But a person’s recovery can be strengthened by expanding their toolbox for responding to life’s ups and downs. For instance, a number of things about meditation make it a great tool for people who are in recovery from substance use disorders:
- It is compatible with all types of common addiction treatments, including medications.
- Daily meditation can provide structure and routine.
- It can assist in building a non-judgmental approach to recovery and life.
- There are free online tools to learn about meditation.
- It can be done anywhere, without drawing attention to oneself.
- Meditation can help a person’s recovering brain to regain the ability to function without substances more quickly.
- It can become a tool for connecting with other people who also have an interest in meditation and who are therefore probably less likely to engage in substance use.
Its Various Types
As shared by our partners at English Mountain Recovery, there are various types of meditation. A few that might be beneficial for people in recovery from substance use disorder include:
- Mindfulness Meditation – Focusing one’s attention on the present moment by relaxing the mind and simply allowing thoughts and feelings to flow naturally. And without judgment.
- Mantra Meditation – finding a simple phrase, sound, or word to repeat, either silently or aloud, in order to attain stillness and clarity.
- Breathing Meditation – paying attention to one’s own breathing as a way to relax the body and mind.
- Guided Meditation – a facilitator (in-person or remote) guides the participant(s) through a visualization exercise.
- Moving Meditation – this is the practice of meditating while incorporating deliberate, focused movement, such as yoga or tai chi.
Youtube has numerous free videos on different styles. Some of which are specifically targeted toward people who are in recovery. Community-based recovery groups also sometimes offer sessions for members who are seeking to learn more about it.
What Does Meditation Offer?
While it has different styles, it generally shares three common factors:
- Attention to the moment – not allowing the future or past to overwhelm the here and now. This can be a factor in relapse, so mastering it is a powerful tool for staying sober.
- A combination of relaxation and focus, paving the way for new ideas and insights.
- A non-judgmental approach to the self and others. Providing better clarity in our perceptions of ourselves and our world.
Can Meditation Help Me?
Meditation has served different people, in different places, with different goals. Many people, within and beyond the substance abuse recovery community, practice meditation. Athletes, mental health professionals, educators, religious leaders, and others have utilized the practice to help them. And the people they serve to work toward common goals.
Scientists researching how meditation impacts substance abuse treatment have found that while meditation is beneficial in combination with other substance abuse treatment modalities. Meditation is not a stand-alone replacement for the treatments typically recommended. It includes group and individual therapy, recovery groups, and sometimes medications. Moreover, for optimal results it becomes a part of a whole person treatment plan. And is developed through collaboration with the person, their treatment team, and their personal support system.
Among people in the substance abuse recovery community, it is common to meditate on a daily quote or reading. Sometimes from a book, although they can also often be found online. Adult Children of Alcoholics World Service Organization also posts a daily meditation for its members on its website.
We Can Help
At Safe Harbor Recovery Center, we take a holistic approach to treatment. We recognize that a person’s mind, body, and spirit must all be nurtured to attain the highest level of health. Along with their wellbeing, to ensure long-term success in recovery. In conclusion, we build individualized treatment plans with each person and family we serve.