For many years Meditation has been recognised for it benefits, and is widely used in its many different forms and variations. Some examples of meditation are guided, mindfulness, breathing techniques, visualization, chanting, affirmation, self-healing. There are many more, certainly enough that there is a choice to find one that works best for you.
Benefits of Meditation
The practise of regular meditation has many physical and mental health benefits. Meditation can help slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure and promote a feeling of well-being, calmness and clarity within an individual. These are all very appealing to someone who suffers with an over active mind, feelings of stress and obsessive thinking. Meditation can bring feelings of ease and comfort to an individual, these feelings are often alien to an addict, unless acquired by taking their drug of choice.
Help with cravings
Meditation can also to help an individual deal with cravings, by focusing the mind into a medative state, the mind is diverted from the craving. Individuals suffering from addiction often feel that a craving is physical. A craving can only be physical if a person is withdrawing from a substance. In this case the body “craves” what it has lost and become used to. It is common to mistake a mental obsession for a craving. The mental obsession can plague an individual for many years after stopping a substance, due to the euphoric recall effect that the mind produces. Its effect can be so profound that the individual literally aches for a drug or a drink. It is this obsession that leads many addicts and alcoholics back into active addiction.
In theory by learning to apply meditation regularly and individual may be able to stop these obsessive thought from developing, or become disciplined enough to be able to divert them. The reality is that most addicts and alcoholics suffer from a severe lack of discipline and structure in their lives. That coupled with low motivation levels can make this very difficult to achieve. However many rehabilitation and recovery programs for addiction incorporate meditation practices. Providing the individual with much needed discipline and structure. Also with many addicts and alcoholics, there is also an intense need for some form of psychotherapy and or counselling. For this reason structured recovery programs and meditation, work best when these needs are addressed.
Introducing discipline and structure
My belief is that few addicts and alcoholics have the initial discipline required to use meditation to its full potential. This is something that takes time, dedication and practise. I do however believe that meditation can be an integral part of an individual’s recovery, if accompanied by an altered attitude and outlook on life in general. Meditation can be of benefit to all whom practise it, including an addict or an alcoholic, but there usually needs to be more to enable an addict or alcoholic to lead a successful and sober life. Whether it has the ability to cure addiction completely I’m not sure, as that depends on the individual who practices it, but its benefits certainly give cause for further consideration.
I would be keen to hear from anyone who feels that meditation has played an important part in their recovery and to what extent, and invite you to share your thoughts and opinions on this topic