If you are new to meditation, you may picture someone sitting on the ground with their legs crossed and their eyes closed, chanting under their breath, but it is important to note that this is just one representation among many. Meditation can be a powerful practice that can help with a range of physical and mental health conditions, including addiction.
As part of our comprehensive rehabilitation and holistic programme at Oasis Bradford, we offer meditation to treat addiction and its co-occurring illnesses, such as anxiety and depression. This can help you to overcome addiction and see meaningful benefits in your health and wellbeing.
What is meditation?
Meditation has been practised for thousands of years, and its origins are impossible to accurately trace. What we originally thought of as meditation is now commonly called mindfulness, which was developed by Buddhist monks in the 3rd century BCE (and likely elsewhere, too) and has since spread beyond religious practices in Asia to the rest of the world.
Mindfulness meditation is a series of techniques designed to bring your attention to the present moment to quieten your mind and calm your body. Because of this, it is a useful tool as part of a recovery programme to treat addiction, and related symptoms and co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression and trauma.
How does meditation therapy work?
Sometimes the world around us gets overwhelming, regardless of our circumstances. Meditation can help you focus on your internal mind rather than external stimuli and helps keep you grounded. It’s a way of remaining focused and not letting our minds spiral into worry, anxiety or fear.
With addiction, in particular, your brain becomes wired to compulsively seek external substances or behaviours to temporarily change how you feel inside and help you avoid overwhelming negative emotions. Meditation therapy gives you the tools to face and resolve those emotions in a structured and calm manner and healthily process them.
Mindfulness meditation for addiction can be difficult initially, especially for those during a new detox or recent abstinence and those with racing thoughts of fear and anxiety. These can all make it difficult to quieten your mind, relax and focus. At Oasis Recovery, our meditation therapy programme incorporates several proven techniques to resolve these difficulties so you can embrace the present moment and reap its benefits.
What are the benefits of meditation for addiction recovery?
The long-term effects of meditation include:
- A rewiring of the brain’s cognitive pathways – This means that when a trigger is experienced, your brain is more resistant and less likely to react to undesired behaviours.
- Improved self-reflection – This can be a useful tool in dismantling what caused addiction in the first place
- Increased resilience to adverse experiences – Meditation therapy can also help with the physical withdrawal symptoms of early detox and abstinence. It provides the mental tools to cope with the physical symptoms and keeps the motivation to get through the difficult parts of early recovery.
- Numerous health benefits – These include a healthier sleep schedule, prevention of panic attacks, reduced pain, soothed muscle aches, lower blood pressure and regulated breathing.
How does meditation for addiction work?
To successfully recover from addiction for good, there needs to be a shift in mindset and thought processes, but daily meditation can help with this as it aids in the rewiring and repairing of the brain’s cognitive pathways over time.
Meditation, when practised regularly, will prevent unhelpful thoughts and emotions of shame, guilt, fear and failure from having such an effect on the person’s mind in recovery and allow them to regulate their responses to the things that trigger these unhelpful emotions. These are vital skills to acquire in recovery as they will prevent relapse and help individuals stay connected with their authentic selves in the present moment.
Our rehab treatment programme will teach you the skills and techniques used in mindfulness meditation and how to factor them into your daily schedule when you leave rehab. This will ensure the positive effects can be reinforced and experienced throughout long-term recovery.
Our meditation techniques
Mindfulness meditation is the most widely used meditation treatment, focusing on being in the present moment. It is the most effective meditation treatment for mood disorders and addiction. It is often used in treatment plans for anxiety, as it aims to stop negative thought spirals in their tracks before they lead to unwanted or undesired behaviours. We incorporate meditation as a workshop alongside other rehab approaches, giving you time to absorb and reflect after process groups.
Mindfulness is a straightforward technique to learn, which can be as simple as focusing on breathing, but it takes discipline, which many people with addiction may struggle with. Its simplicity is a blessing as it can be done anywhere, by anyone, at any time. The more practised, the easier it is to gain control over compulsive behaviours like substance abuse and the overwhelming thoughts that trigger them.
Another meditation practice utilised is guided meditation. This can help beginners get used to meditation when they have little experience or those who have previously tried and struggled. Guided meditation can involve telling the individual a story to imagine, which helps them focus on their body internally (such as a little ball of light travelling all around the body), and can sometimes involve music for those who struggle with silence.
How to get started
If you are struggling with addiction, Oasis Recovery is here to help. To learn more about our meditation practices or other holistic treatment programmes we offer, please contact us, and a member of our knowledgeable team will be happy to help you.