Meditation and Recovery: Changing Your Perception

by John Olrech

I was introduced to meditation in my early thirties at the beginning of my attempts to get sober from drugs and alcohol. The idea of finding a moment of peace was intriguing, and the ability to slow down the thoughts in my head was a dream. I did not realize how the roles of meditation and the 12 steps would change my life.

I, like many alcoholics and addicts, struggled for many years to quiet the thoughts in my head. I used alcohol and drugs to dull my senses and my mind. When I first discovered meditation, I was immediately able to feel the oneness that I was missing. I found that if I focused on my breathing, I was able to slow down the thoughts in my mind. This took practice and I had to develop discipline. This wasn’t easy, as alcoholics and addicts are not known for their discipline. Over time I developed a routine, and I began to search and experiment with different types of meditation from different religions and philosophies. By continuing my meditation practices, I was able tear down walls and expand my spirituality.

The practice of meditation along with the 12 steps has helped me develop compassion for others, oneness with nature and a growing relationship with my God. By sitting in silence, I have learned to listen when others speak and be at peace when the world around me appears to be falling apart. It has done wonders for my physical health. At one point I felt anxiety almost non-stop. Now three and a half years later, I rarely have a moment when I am consumed by it.

Who would have thought that a simple discipline of sitting with your eyes closed and focusing on your breathing can create a pathway to spirituality. Start slow and get a routine, focus on your breathing and let go of the outcome. Understand that by turning your focus in, you are changing your perception of the outside world.

John Olrech is a Recovery Manager for BRC Recovery. He is a Certified Peer Recovery Coach and a former professional musician from Austin, TX.