Some people escape life’s challenges through the use of drugs and alcohol. This method of dealing with problems only avoids addressing the root causes. As a result, bodies and minds can become reliant on and addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Addiction is a severe problem that many people face today. The treatment process can seem impossible regardless of how much someone wants to stop using drugs or alcohol. But many new therapy methods available today, including mindfulness meditation for addiction treatment, may help you recover. Right Step Hill Country includes holistic methods as part of individualized treatment plans in our addiction treatment programs. Learn more by calling 1.844.675.1628.
What Is Mindfulness Meditation?
Meditation is a mental activity that develops increased awareness and attention to your surroundings. It acts to dampen your reactions to thoughts and feelings. There is no standard way to meditate. It can focus on bodily sensations, breathing, or a word or phrase. This type of meditation is known as mindfulness meditation, which reduces distractions and enhances your focus on the present moment.
How to Meditate
You can meditate in several different ways. It’s not always a matter of sitting on the floor with your legs crossed and eyes closed. Some other ways to practice mindfulness include:
- Walking – When you go for a walk, try to pay close attention to your surroundings—the trees, birds, smells. Acknowledge anything that comes up in your thoughts or feelings, and then refocus on the walking experience.
- Reading – As you read, try to pay attention to what you are reading—the words on the page and the ideas they convey. If your mind wanders, notice that and gently refocus back onto the text.
- Cooking – When you’re cooking, slow down and focus on the process—the colors, textures, and smells. Notice whenever a thought or feeling arises and bring yourself back to the present moment.
- Gardening – As you work in the garden, be aware of what’s going on—the plants that are growing, the soil, and the sound of your breathing. Acknowledge any thoughts or feelings that arise as you focus on the present moment.
- Completing puzzles – When you’re doing a puzzle, take your time and pay attention to the pieces. Notice any thoughts or feelings that come up as you focus on the task at hand.
These are just a few of the many ways you can incorporate mindfulness into your daily life. Addiction treatment programs know that mindfulness can easily be integrated into everyday activities and, when used regularly, can help reduce cravings.
Advantages of Mindfulness Meditation for Addiction Treatment
Meditation offers several important benefits in recovering from addiction, including:
Meditation releases endorphins, chemicals that induce feelings of happiness and contentment. These feelings are so strong that the “meditator’s high” has been found to be stronger than the “runner’s high.”
Anyone going through addiction knows how powerful the urge to satisfy your craving can be. Meditation can be extremely effective at allowing your mind to focus on other things and ignore your cravings. In essence, meditation neutralizes your urges. Cravings become nothing more than another random thought in your mind.
Dopamine improves your mood. People struggling with addiction experience a rush of dopamine every time they use drugs or alcohol. The dopamine rush after a fix is the primary reason they want more drugs and alcohol. You get the same dopamine rush through meditation but without the crash. Being happy fills any holes in your life that previously needed to be filled by drugs or alcohol.
Allowing You to Take Back Control
Many people feel like they are not in control of their life or have been led to their current position with little ability to change it. Instead of living on autopilot mode, being aware of every thought, action, and experience can make all the difference. Meditation forces you to face your problems. This quality is essential for anyone but is especially valuable for people struggling with addiction.
Meditation Can Be More Effective than Drug Treatment Alone
Mindfulness meditation can be a helpful tool in addiction recovery, but it should not be used as a replacement for traditional drug treatment. Meditation can help to ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings, but it is not a cure for addiction. It is vital to seek professional help if you are struggling with addiction. Drug treatment programs that include meditation as part of the curriculum have been shown to be more effective than drug treatment alone.
Some evidence-based therapies that are enhanced by regularly practicing mindfulness meditation include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – CBT is a type of therapy that helps people to understand the thoughts and emotions that contribute to their addictive behaviors. By incorporating mindfulness meditation into CBT, people in treatment can learn to become more aware of their thoughts and feelings in the moment, which can help them to make better choices.
- Trauma-informed therapy – Trauma-informed therapy is a type of treatment that considers that many people with addiction have experienced trauma in their lives. This type of therapy can help people feel more in control of their lives and heal their past wounds. Mindfulness meditation can be a valuable component of trauma-informed therapy, as it can help people to stay present in the moment and to avoid being pulled into the past by their trauma.
- Group therapy – Group therapy is an important part of treatment for many people with addiction. In group therapy, people can share their experiences and learn from others going through similar things. Mindfulness meditation can be a helpful tool in group therapy, as it can help people to focus on the present moment and to be more aware of their thoughts and feelings. This awareness can help people to better connect with others in group therapy.
Utilizing mindfulness meditation for addiction treatment can be a powerful tool to help people achieve recovery. If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction, the professionals at Right Step Hill Country are here to help.
Explore Meditation and Addiction Treatment at Right Step Hill Country
There are many ways to enjoy being sober and live a happy and satisfying life without using drugs or alcohol. And meditation can help you achieve this state of mind. For details on how meditation can benefit you, contact Right Step Hill Country online or by calling 1.844.675.1628 today.