When people are active in their substance abuse disorder, it's almost like they're programmed to make poor decisions. Often, people with drug or alcohol problems live their lives in a constant state of low-level panic. It's like they're always in flight or fight syndrome, which is a tremendous stressor on the body and mind. One strategy that can be helpful on the road to recovery is meditation.
Meditation is found throughout recovery programs, even ones that developed independently from one another. In the Big Book of AA, morning meditations are recommended. There's plenty of Twelve Step literature that offers daily readings. Sometimes a recovering addict will write about the reading, other times they'll invite family members to join in the meditation with them.
Inpatient and outpatient group therapy might use guided meditations. A facilitator leads the group in a meditative exercise. This might involve visualization. Generally, people sit or lie down, close their eyes and focus on their breathing and a series of images.
Mindfulness meditation is recommended by many therapists and addiction specialists
Mindfulness refers to awareness. Instead of worrying about the past or the future, mindfulness exercises help people to stay in the present moment. In studies, mindfulness meditation has been shown to improve mood.
Meditation overall has been shown to have great benefits for people trying to quit alcohol and drugs
There's even evidence to show that meditation can help people form new neural pathways in the brain. Rewiring the brain to make better decisions and reduce stress is exactly what people with substance abuse disorder most need. Their families, too, can often benefit from meditation strategies.
Contact The Haven if you or a loved one needs help to get sober. The staff at the Haven uses a number of evidence-based strategies, including types of meditation, to help people kick the habit and build better lives.