Meditation and mindfulness in particular have been extremely in vogue as the latest cure-all treatment for our busy lives and practically anything else that acts as a modern distraction to individuals. Yes, this even includes addiction disorders. While it may seem like a new fad, meditation is hardly a new practice and has been around since the 6th to 5th centuries BCE, with the most recent incarnations being largely shaped by the Taoist’s in China and Buddhist’s of India.
The practice of mediation basically involves thinking deeply in an attempt to focus one’s mind on the interior self over a certain period of time. This can be done for religious and spiritual purposes, but it has also been proven to be a useful tool in addiction recovery. Meditation and mindfulness have regularly been included in addiction recovery treatment as a method to center individuals by creating a calming atmosphere to search inward and be in the moment.
So does meditation actually work?
We feel much of the proof is first clearly evident by meditation’s staying power. It has been used as both a spiritual and philosophical approach to understanding life’s sufferings for over 2,500 years. Secondly, the entire process of meditation mirrors that of addiction recovery treatment because it helps you come into touch with and gain a better understanding of the emotions, thoughts, and sensations that you are feeling in the moment.
Here at Choice House, we wholeheartedly believe in providing men in addiction recovery with every available tool to help them maintain long term sobriety. As such, we also believe that mindfulness gained through the practice of mediation can be one of the most effective tools along the path to maintaining sobriety.
At Choice House, we offer exercises in meditation and mindfulness to teach recovery patients how to get in touch with their inner selves and provide a calming balm to the chaos that can be involved with an addiction disorder. The majority of meditation sessions occur in a group setting, but the experience can easily be replicated on your own.
When it comes to beginners who are first practicing meditation, generally the best option is to do a guided meditation. This involves a more experienced meditator walking you through the steps as you focus your thoughts inward and control your breathing. The first thing to realize as you begin is that you probably will not be great at meditating on your first try. Just like any skill or muscle, it takes practice and exercise to improve or strengthen your abilities. Second, there is no wrong way to meditate. It is what you make of it and it can just be used as a simple calming exercise that puts you in a better frame of mind to avoid negative thoughts that could potentially trigger a relapse and compromise your recovery.
Being Mindful of the Present Moment
While you may use meditation as a way to calm your emotions and center yourself, that doesn’t mean you can’t reach greater depths of understanding oneself through mindfulness and meditation. Mediation can lead toward more spiritual and philosophical concepts concerning the cessation of suffering in life or a better understanding of Buddhist philosophies of nothingness. Reaching higher levels of understanding the universe may be a goal that one can work up to, but overall, and especially for those in early recovery, meditation should be used to center yourself by providing a calming experience while you become more mindful of the present.
So what exactly is this mindfulness?
It means being mindful of the present moment, as well as being mindful of your present thoughts and emotions. One of the main purposes of mindfulness is to help individuals be more “in the moment.” The theory is that, by observing each moment as it passes, you can gradually slow down your reaction time to your inner thoughts and emotions. You become less reactionary, can observe those feelings for what they are, and begin to find out what your body and mind are actually trying to tell you. Rather than reacting to your immediate thoughts or emotions through destructive behaviors like using substances, you can pause and reflect on why you are experiencing these feelings and learn to manage them in healthier ways. This makes mindfulness a perfect tool for impulse control issues that plague the majority of individuals in early and even later addiction recovery.
If you are interested in learning more about how mediation and mindfulness can help you in addiction recovery, Choice House is here to help. We offer meditation and mindfulness services to men throughout all three of our addiction recovery programs, which include a 90 day inpatient program, an intensive outpatient service, and a transition-based sober living campus. Located in Boulder County, Colorado, our campus is perfectly situated right next to the Rocky Mountain National Park and we take full advantage of the proximity to Colorado’s beautiful vistas with our unique outdoor wilderness therapy. The campus is also conveniently located just twenty minutes from the bustling city of Louisville, which offers individuals undergoing either outpatient treatments or residing at our sober living campus the necessary levels of accountability and guidance while still having access to the city amenities of work and social activities. Choice House offers a variety of therapeutic modalities in addition to meditation and outdoor therapy that are designed to provide men with the necessary tools to build a new foundation of love and empathy for achieving and maintaining long term sobriety. For more information about Choice House’s meditation and mindfulness therapies and different treatment options for addiction recovery, call Choice House at (720) 577-4422.