Integrating Meditation Into Recovery
More and more drug treatment centers are integrating meditation and other forms of alternative treatment methods into their array of services. One reason for this is the recognition that focusing on overall well being, and not only sobriety, helps one in their recovery.
In fact, this is the very reason that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA) has adopted wellness as a significant component to treating addiction. For example, take a look at SAMHSA’s vision:
We envision a future in which people with mental health and substance use disorders pursue optimal health, happiness, recovery, and a full and satisfying life in the community via access to a range of effective services, supports, and resources.
To help with creating optimal health and wellness, more and more doctors, mental health professionals, and addiction treatment specialists are including meditation, yoga, and stress reduction tools into their practice. Specifically, meditation is a form of relaxation practice that can help prevent someone to turn to drugs or alcohol when feeling stress in life.
Types of Meditation
There are many forms of meditation, all of which can have a relaxing effect. However, a traditional form of meditation is the practice having one point of focus (commonly the breath) and keeping attention on that point of focus. The practice can be very calming and can produce healing experiences. Although meditation might be difficult at first, the challenge at the beginning is worth the rewards.
One significant benefit to meditation is that it can help release the grip of addiction. Meditation helps one become more and more aware of their thoughts and inner experience. While addiction frequently represses emotions, harmful thoughts, and uncomfortable inner experiences, meditation does the opposite.
This alone is healing. However, becomes of the developing self-awareness, meditation can help create space between a thought and a person’s reaction to that thought.
For instance, if a person has the thought, “I’m no good,” it’s quite possible that he or she does not have a positive self relationship. And it’s common for addicts to have issues with self esteem and self confidence. Thoughts, such as, “I’m no good,” or “I’m a loser,” can create uncomfortable feelings and drive one to reach for a beer or cocaine to feel better.
However, slowly, a meditation practice can help the mind slow down. This can help create space between the thought and the way a person responds to that thought. Instead of believing in the thought which might cause the use of substances to feel better, a person might simply notice that the thought is there and get curious about it.
He or she might ask questions like, “Why is this thought showing up now?” or “Is this thought related to what I’m doing or feeling right now?”
This alone is why more and more addiction treatment centers are including meditation in their program. In fact, meditation continues to bring healing effects long after detox and addiction treatment is complete. It is an excellent form of drug treatment aftercare. Once drug treatment is done, meditation is a practice that can keep any recovering addict in a healthy frame of mind.
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