Meditation is becoming more and more popular. Although it’s not easy, it’s a practice that more and more people are including in their day, even those outside of religious or spiritual groups. Meditation itself is not a religious or spiritual practice in and of itself. It’s simply a way to train the mind to stay present. And by doing so, people experience spiritual or religious benefits.
Meditation is developing the skill of keeping your mind fixed on one point of focus. This could be the breath, a word, a candle, etc. The task is to return your attention to that point of focus each time you notice your mind has strayed. Of course, it sounds easy. But it’s surprising to most practitioners to see just how wild and unruly their mind really is.
If you are interested in meditation, there are a number of books, movies, classes that can teach you. If you engage in the practice daily, you will notice one wonderful benefit of meditation that can help any recovering addict.
The primary benefit of meditation is that you will be doing less reacting to your life and more responding. Instead of unconsciously reacting to uncomfortable emotions, perhaps through the use of drugs and alcohol, meditation gives you the ability to pause. You can take a step back and realize, wait, I don’t want to drink when I feel this way. I want to call a friend, or you might want to journal. The greatest advantage of practicing meditation is that you will be able to slow your mental activity down so that you’re no longer automatically reacting to your life.
In fact, getting sober is about recognizing the patterns of thought, the deeply embedded beliefs about yourself, and the destructive behaviors that you find yourself doing as a result. Getting sober is about becoming conscious or aware of how you are living your life.
It’s not always easy. Not only does recovery require a willingness to change, it also necessitates your keen attention and making new choices consciously. The challenge stems from the repeated pattern of making old choices in the same way again and again. Over time, connections in the brain have developed that continue to make it easy to make that same choice.
This is why paying close attention to your present circumstances is so important, versus unconsciously making similar choices to those you made in the past. And this is precisely what meditation can do. Staying aware of what you are doing while you are doing it can facilitate finding a different choice. When faced with old triggers, carrying out action patterns that are positive and healthy may be challenging at the start, but with practice, they too can become habitual.
Now, the truth is that there is often a lot to the process of recovery. In addition to meditation, your recovery might include unraveling deep seated and destructive beliefs, perhaps healing from childhood trauma, finally letting go of repressed emotions, learning new coping mechanisms, and more. However, meditation can facilitate each of these steps. It can be a powerful tool in the recovery from addiction.
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