Can sitting quietly really treat addiction? The realm of addiction treatment has many different areas to explore, and as you look for alternatives to treat substance misuse, one idea that you will likely come across is the idea of mindfulness and meditation. Is it true that mindfulness practices can help with substance misuse and long-term recovery?
What Are Meditation and Mindfulness Practices?
Meditation and mindfulness practices bring your mind into the present. If you’re sitting and meditating, you notice the feelings in your body and your breathing. However, you don’t need to meditate to be mindful. You could practice being fully present while you are walking or even when you’re taking part in an activity that you enjoy, such as creating art or cooking. By teaching your body to be part of the present moment, you’re taking away a lot of the stress, worry, and focus on external desires such as the desire for drugs and alcohol.
Can These Practices Help in Addiction Treatment?
Can meditation and mindfulness really help with your addiction treatment? While these might seem like soft practices that won’t have an impact on your addiction, their effects can actually be huge.
According to Psychology Today, when you are addicted your mind is elsewhere: “whether the specific addiction is to alcohol, drugs, food, sex or shopping, your mind is usually focused on how to get your substance of choice, taking steps to acquire it, using it or recovering from the effects.” You spend most of your time trying to change how you feel and what you have in the present, and you’re constantly dissatisfied with how the present looks because you want more.
By meditating, you bring your mind into the present. It might not want to be there. In fact, the present can be very uncomfortable. It can bring up various feelings of longing, unpleasantness and dissatisfaction. However, learning how to manage an addiction involves sitting with these feelings, observing how they work in your body, and seeing yourself as the observer instead of someone who needs to jump in and use drugs or alcohol to take those feelings away.
Meditation can help you practice emotional responses that allow you to feel calm. When you can turn to meditation and mindfulness as a way to cope with stress, then you know that you are making strides in your efforts to achieve long-term sobriety.
Meditation can enhance addiction recovery. It’s not a cure, nor will it guarantee that you can achieve long-term recovery. You will likely still need help with the physical transition off of drugs and alcohol, and counseling, group therapy, and other therapies such as recreation and art therapy can also help you stay sober. However, adding meditation practices into the mix can help you manage substance misuse, and it can become a strategy that you turn to when you’re stressed and tempted to return to use.
Being Present When You Have a Dual Diagnosis
Mindfulness and meditation practices can be particularly helpful when you have a dual diagnosis. Many people with anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses struggle with them from day to day and may turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. This struggle to manage an illness can turn into another disorder as you slip into addiction.
Meditation and mindfulness practices not only help your brain cope with stress and anxiety — they can become a positive habit and coping strategy in times of need. If you turn to meditation instead of alcohol, you can soothe and focus your brain without the use of external substances. This becomes a healthy habit that emulates the feelings that you may have gotten from drugs and alcohol.
At The Recovery Village Columbus, we’re here to help you onto the path of addiction treatment and long-term sobriety. Talk with a representative today to learn more about intensive inpatient and outpatient programs, including alternative treatments and assistance for those with a dual diagnosis. To lLearn about admission, call The Recovery Village Columbus today.