Early recovery can be seemingly hopeless– I know first-hand. Depression, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia and lack of focus are typical and can make life nearly unbearable. It is vitally important to learn healthy coping skills to combat these feelings if one wants to have a happy, prosperous, and successful recovery from their addiction.
One of the most beneficial and life changing skills I have learned since getting sober 2 years ago is the practice of meditation. Not only does meditation enhance my recovery, it also combats many of the negative feelings and symptoms I have had since I was a child. It may not seem like much, but just a few minutes every morning and night drastically enhances my mood, concentration, and motivation.
My first experience with meditation started simply with 10 conscious breaths every morning, as suggested by a mentor. As I made this a consistent routine, it evolved into more complex practices like breath work, yoga, and long meditations. It does not take long to begin seeing the effects of meditation once it has been made routine.
An important note: Meditation is not the act of “not thinking” but rather the practice of being present in the moment, accepting thoughts as they appear, and letting them pass by like a cloud in the sky. Many people that I talk to whom have no experience with meditation believe they must somehow turn off their thoughts. This is a misconception. The brain is made to think, and it will do just that. Meditation is simply being present to one’s body, surroundings, thoughts, sounds, or feelings. There are many different methods and styles which can be learned and you can always choose the best that suits you!
It Can Treat Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
Meditation has been proven to relieve many of the symptoms of post acute withdrawal syndrome like depression, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and lack of concentration. There are even specific guided meditations for sleep, or ones for anxiety, or practically any negative symptom or emotion you can think of!
It Can Stop Negative or Racing Thoughts
Meditation is the act of present moment awareness. This slows down the mind and can help flush negative or racing thoughts. When this is practiced routinely, one will begin to notice that throughout the day they are more present to events, emotions, and actions. Instead of worrying about the past or future, one will only be concerned with the current situation. This can bring peace of mind and harmony to one’s life.
It Is a POSITIVE Addiction
As you begin to see and feel the positive effects of routine meditation, you will want more! Meditation is good when I am happy when I am sad when I am stressed, or when I am angry. Practically in any situation, I can meditate for a few minutes, and afterward, I tend to have a new perception of the event or my feelings. The more I meditate the more I want to do it, and the best part is: it doesn’t have any negative side effects.
It Can Treat Depression
I was diagnosed with chronic depression and self-medicated most of life. In very early recovery a psychologist recommended that I take medication for my depression, but after speaking to a psychiatrist I determined I would try routine meditation first. The doctor agreed that meditation can treat depression and many report a significant reduction in symptoms after months of routine meditation practice. I have been meditating since then and never decided to start taking medication. I no longer would describe myself as a depressed person. Obviously, every person is different, but that is my experience with meditation as a means of treating depression. Whether you face true clinical depression or find yourself down in the dumps, meditation has been proven over and over to help lift spirits and reduce stress.
It Has Been Used for Thousands of Years
Meditation has existed since at least the 5th and 6th century BCE. For thousands of years people around the world have been meditating to increase awareness, happiness, oneness with the universe, and love and tolerance toward others. It has been used for spiritual, religious, and secular reasons alike. Many ancient texts describe the positive effects of meditation which hold true to this day. As of recent, scientists have begun brain imaging on people while meditating to gain a better understand of the practice. It is obvious and accepted by the medical community that meditation has beneficial psychological effects. If the practice did not help people, it would not have stayed around this long! Give meditation an honest shot, and see the results for yourself!
Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic whose been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources and addiction awareness. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.