Genuine recovery requires you to address the underlying emotional causes of addiction, which is aided by evidence-based clinical therapies and alternative approaches, like meditation. Meditation and addiction couldn’t be more different. One is about checking in and being present in the moment, while the other is about checking out and finding an escape.
Meditation can help you improve mindfulness and teach you how to regulate your emotions, two skills essential to permanent recovery, as well as a host of other benefits.
1. It restores balance.
The earliest stages of recovery can be wrought with intense emotions and mood swings. But by quieting the mind and forcing your attention to focus on a single thing, such as your breath or a sound, it can gradually help you feel more emotionally balanced and in tune with yourself.
Studies have found that regular meditation breaks down the connection between the medial prefrontal cortex, or the “Me Center” that continually references back to you, and the bodily sensation/fear centers. A weaker connection between the Me Center and the bodily sensation/fear centers means that when you feel fearful, you’ll start to feel less like something is wrong with you. This explains why anxiety decreases the more you meditate.
A stronger connection between the body’s Assessment Center and bodily sensation/fear centers develops, which improves your ability to assess a potentially dangerous or upsetting situation from a more rational perspective, instead of assuming it has something to do with you.
The connection between the good parts of the Me Center and the bodily sensation center, which involves empathy, also becomes stronger. This improves your ability to empathize and understand where someone is coming from, even if that person thinks or perceives things differently than you. This connection can help you derive even more meaning from a group therapy session.
2. It teaches you how to make healthy recovery choices.
You aren’t responsible for your thoughts, but you are responsible for how you react to those thoughts. Meditation teaches you how to observe your thoughts and feelings, including cravings, without having to act on them. Being mindful of your emotions also trickles over into other aspects of your life, such as the foods you put into your body or the relationships you have. The objectivity and presence can help you achieve greater mental clarity that will help you make healthier choices that help your recovery instead of hinder it.
3. It helps prevent relapse.
When you’ve developed deeper insight into who you are and what you need, you’re able to make more informed decisions that support your well-being. By incorporating meditation into your daily practice, you’ll be much more in tune with yourself and better able to recognize the early warning signs that could indicate you may be headed toward relapse.
4. It engages you with the 12-step program.
Step 11 of Alcoholics Anonymous states: “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.”
Meditation is a spiritual practice that strengthens your connection with yourself and your higher power, something that is fundamental to healing through the 12-step program. Spiritual health is key to recovery, regardless of your “higher power.”
5. It relieves stress.
Stress is a trigger that threatens recovery, and training the mind to focus on one thing and stay present can help you relax. Meditation is a stress-relieving tool you can take with you throughout recovery. An ongoing practice will help you handle the stresses of everyday life with more ease.
Permanent recovery is possible. If you or someone you care about is ready to heal physically, mentally and spiritually, BRC Recovery can help. Our holistic recovery programs work, and we have the alumni network to prove it. Contact a BRC Recovery Specialist at 1-866-905-4550 for more information.