Meditating in Sobriety
By Bill Weiss
Living in the moment can be very challenging. Being able to implement patience and acceptance during trying times is no easy task. Practicing mindfulness and meditation in recovery can be very beneficial and will improve one’s overall quality of life. Mediation is practiced by hundreds of millions of people every day. There are several physical and mental health benefits associated with it.
Benefits Recognized by Millions
Meditating on a regular basis in sobriety and early recovery is suggested by nearly all treatment centers. Step-based recovery programs, like Alcoholics Anonymous, SMART Recovery and Celebrate Recovery all use meditation practices in their step based approached to a better life. Some newer step-based approaches use mindfulness and meditation as the center of their program. Refuge Recovery, a Buddhist take on recovering from drugs and alcohol, start all meetings with a group meditation.
Addiction professionals from around the world suggest meditating for a valid reason; it promotes inner peace, natural comfort and a sense of wellbeing. It’s a great way for people to quiet down the stressors of the outside world and to ground themselves. One doesn’t need to dedicate hours to meditation every week. Even a simple five to ten-minute meditation session can make a huge difference in one’s overall quality of life.
History of Meditation
Some of the earliest written records of meditation come from the Hindi traditions of Vendantism and date back all the way to 1500 BCE. In 5th and 6th centuries BCE, other more modern forms of meditation began developing in China and India. No one knows exactly where the exact origins of Buddhist meditation can be traced to. Some of the earlier written records of the meditation in Buddhism are found in the sutras of the Pali Canon, which date back to the 1st century BCE. Wherever it came from, we should be happy that it's practiced has survived this long.
New to Meditation
If you are new to meditation and are unsure where to start, don’t worry, a lot of people are in your shoes. When practicing meditation in early recovery it is suggested to check out guided meditation videos/audio files. YouTube is loaded with thousands of these videos that anyone can access for free at any time. They vary in length, from one minute to hours. We suggest starting small and building your way up. At first, you will find it hard to quiet your mind, don’t worry this is typical. The first few minutes will be a bit “noisy”, but you will get better with time. Just like anything, the more and more you practice, the better you will get.
Mindfulness in Recovery
Being mindful in recovery and sobriety comes with a plethora of benefits. This includes; lowering stress, reducing anxiety levels, decreasing depression, improving mental health, better sleeping patterns, less impulsive, better concentration and even increased energy levels. Being able to turn off the mind allows one the opportunity to learn about themselves more. When they become more comfortable with their inner dialogue, their overall outlook on life will improve. When someone is happy and comfortable with who they are, the chances of them relapsing are extremely low.
Benefits of Meditating in Sobriety
The human mind has the ability to justify and rationalize insane actions on a subconscious level. When someone is early in recovery, this subconscious decision making is more powerful and can be very harmful. Mindfulness in sobriety allows one to speak directly with themselves, using conflict resolution to help prevent a devastating chain of events from occurring.
Slowing it down is so important. In early recovery, it is so important for people to take time to process the trials and tribulations they might be experiencing. Being able to really take a look from the outside and truly look within is a very difficult thing for humans to do. At first, it is very uncomfortable, but this does take some effort. Noticing emotions and how one reacts to certain life events will help that person make better decisions in the future. When someone is not as impulsive and doesn’t act wildly on emotions, their chances of staying clean and being happy will rise substantially.
Don’t say you don’t have the time to meditate, the next time you take out your phone to flip through Facebook, Instagram, Reddit or whatever, put it down and open a meditation video. It only takes a few minutes and it will make a huge difference in your overall quality of life. Practicing mindfulness and meditation in sobriety has countless benefits and will lead to a better life.