A common trait among alcoholics and addicts is an uncontrollable racing mind that travels from the past to the future to imagined scenarios in the blink of an eye. The mind of an alcoholic or addict can read like a stream of consciousness novel heading nowhere and everywhere at the same time. Often times, when a person finally gets sober, the noise of the mind is turned down to a tolerable level as the constant guilt and shame of the past is replaced with acceptance and spiritual principles, but that being said, the mind of someone with an addiction can still be a loud and confusing place.
This is where meditation comes in. Meditation is usually a footnote in people’s recovery. It is many times looked at as a suggested supplement to prayer and many people do not actually engage in meditation in any form. The act of sitting still for an extended period of time is difficult for most alcoholics and addicts, and with the advent of technological advances over the past 20 years, sitting still has become increasing more difficult for people.
Our ability to get out of our heads and distract ourselves is at an all time high because of this, but by not being still and getting quiet, the chatter in our minds very often gets louder over time and not quieter. For the alcoholic or addict this could be a dangerous thing and so meditating in sobriety is important if you wish to maintain long-term recovery.
Luckily, meditation is not as difficult as many people think it is. It does not necessarily mean sitting cross-legged in a dark room with incense burning and eastern music playing. This is just one option for meditation, and how a person chooses to meditate is entirely up to them. If you are interested in starting meditation but are not sure exactly how, below are some tips for meditating that will hopefully be of help.
Tips for Meditating In Sobriety
Find What You Are Comfortable With
The point of meditation, if there can be one, is to quiet the mind. If you find that you cannot manage to quiet your mind by sitting still in a quiet room than try something else. Yoga for instance is a great way to meditate and many people employ this form of meditation in their life. Other people go for walks and focus on their breathing. Whatever makes you most comfortable is what you should do and try not to let what others tell you is right or wrong affect your practice.
Make Attainable Goals
It is not realistic to think that the first time you meditate you will be able to do so for 30 minutes or an hour. Start small, trying to meditate for 5 to 10 minutes. Starting off small and making realistic goals for yourself is a great practice in life, especially in meditation. Doing this will help you not become frustrated and can make your meditation practice more enjoyable.
Allow Thoughts To Come
Many of us are not meditation gurus and so we will inevitably have thoughts come up during our meditation. Allowing thoughts to come in and out of the mind without attempting to stop them or resist them is helpful in meditation and actually helps to quiet the mind overall.
Try To Create A Schedule
One of the best tips for starting a meditation practice is to try to create a schedule for yourself. This may mean meditating in the morning or meditating at night, but by setting aside time to do so, you will more than likely start to meditate on a regular basis. If you find, and this happens to most people, that you can’t stick to your schedule, that is fine, just try to pick it back up when you can.
Focus On Your Breath
Regardless of how you choose to meditate, focusing on your breath is the key to meditation. The act of inhaling and exhaling slowly, all while consciously focusing on the action, seems to slow down the mind and relax the body. After doing this for a while you can actually find that breathing is enjoyable and not just an automatic response of the body.
What Are The Benefits of Meditating In Sobriety?
The list of benefits that meditation can bring a person are too numerous to list here, but among some of the most common benefits are:
- Increased productive attitude
- Reduced depression
- Increased focus
- A quieter mind
- Reduced anxiety
- Reduced stress
- Helps with sleep
- Increased mental strength, resilience, and emotional intelligence
- Improved decision-making
- Pain relief
- Improved learning ability
- Improved creativity
- Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
- Strengthened immune system
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced risk of Alzheimer’s
For those in recovery, meditating in sobriety has the added benefit of helping to keep someone sober. There is a reason that meditation is included in the 11th Step and that is because it is a part of the program. Getting quiet for any period of time and allowing your brain to unwind as you attempt to listen to the collective unconscious of your spirit is a great way to bolster spiritual connection, which is necessary for maintaining sobriety.
Meditating is not always easy at first, but by incorporating some form of meditation into your life, you will reap such tremendous benefits that you will probably wonder why you didn’t start meditating sooner. So put the phone down. Turn the computer off, and quiet your mind for a bit.
Finding Treatment For Substance Abuse or Alcoholism
Making the decision to finally get clean and sober can be a nerve-wracking experience. One with mixed emotions and fear of what the future will hold without your beloved drugs or alcohol. At Elevations Health we understand how hard coming to the conclusion that you need help can be and our trained staff are equipped to guide you through this difficult time. If you think that you may have a problem with drugs or alcohol then call us at 1-866-200-3224. We can help you get on the path of recovery today.