Meditation in Early Sobriety
There is a growing amount of research in support of meditation being an evidence-based tool for health improvement across many conditions including drug and alcohol addiction. Meditation appears to provide an accessible, self-care resource that has potential value for mental health, behavioral self-regulation, and integrative medical care (Burke, 2017).
Meditation is Backed by Evidence
Three of the most popular meditation methods in Western culture at this time are spiritual meditation, mindfulness meditation, and transcendental meditation (Burke, 2017). These methods are increasingly becoming recognized as highly effective and are implemented in many therapies, treatment centers, and even schools.
Research from one study shows spiritual meditation practice is more prevalent among former drinkers (Burke, 2017). Spiritual meditation is included in the 12 steps of AA as a daily practice suggested to support of addiction treatment and sobriety.
Transcendental meditation is relaxing your awareness of the single-minded process of drawing your breath in and out repeating a mantra twice a day for 20 minutes. You can achieve incredible results if you stick with this commitment long-term.
A 2018 study by the Peter G Dodge Foundation shows people struggling with addiction who meditate twice a day have a significant difference in the relapse rate. The difference is by nearly half compared to those who did not use this daily practice of transcendental meditation.
Meditation can work alongside all of the best evidence-based practices out there. Meditation is used for managing stress, improving overall mindset, shifting into more positive behaviors, and aids in addiction recovery. Knowing the basics of transcendental meditation and the benefits this practice brings if done consistently can help us during unexpected situations. It is a self-regulation tool that helps us cope when life doesn’t go our way.
Any Meditation Practice is Good Practice
Practicing meditation for as little as 10 minutes a day creates a higher success rate when trying to control stress, decrease anxiety, improve cardiovascular health, and achieve a greater capacity for relaxation. Brain scans have shown that experienced meditators have stronger control over their posterior cingulate cortex – the part of the brain activated by stress and cravings.
There are many ways one can learn to meditate. Different methods can resonate with different people and different times in our lives. However, those with a busy lifestyle (which is most) tend to gravitate toward transcendental meditation.
Interestingly enough, busy people want to meditate daily, we say do or act as we should but not everyone deems it as a priority. I’m guilty of this. I know I should daily but the practice of focus takes some work to keep it consistently part of the routine. Focus and awareness— in today’s world, everything is fighting for our attention. So it can be a tall task to pay focus to meditation for a certain amount of time each day, every day. Although, what we give our focus to, turns into a habit over time. Let’s make this positive practice our focus and make it a habit!
How Do I Start Meditating?
The art of focusing on absolutely nothing. The mind gets loud but it won’t get louder. It may get off track, run through different thoughts, and/or feelings but comes back to the breath. It will slowly quiet and get smaller. We are able to see the patterns over time with practice and be able to allow these thoughts to pass through your consciousness with more flow and ease. Keeping a meditation journal can help with identifying these patterns.
So to begin meditating, we sit up straight, with our back to the chair so we can keep our back upright and straight. Sitting back straight position, you will tuck your chin down toward your chest. Rest your hands on your thighs. Feet forward, flat on the floor and close your eyes.
Master our breath. Using our breathe inwardly so the air goes down as if it fills up our stomach. When done correctly your stomach will push out and contract in as we breathe. This allows the diaphragm to move up and down. By not allowing our lungs to expand out and in, it helps us to use more lung capacity, without much effort.
Choosing a Mantra is Next
Mantras are nothing but a mental sound to focus your awareness on. It can assist with achieving higher levels of focus, relaxation, and inner peace. When picking a mantra, it must resonate with you and you should fully be able to believe in it. Mantras are personal and sacred.
See our post on 3 Incredible Mantras with Powerful Meaning for Transcendental Meditation.
Once we have chosen our mantra, we’ll begin drawing our attention to it and syncing our breath with the chosen mantra. The goal of meditation is to create a consistent daily practice. The way to get to that goal is to start with what is achievable for one’s self. This is different for everybody and it is important to not judge ourselves as we move through this process. With the understanding that the longer we meditate over time, the deeper we go, and the more we see for ourselves, the more benefits meditation has to offer. And then the more we utilize the practice, the more consistent this practice is, the quicker we achieve inner peace and our beneficial results.
The long-term committed goal for most with meditation is to reach self-realization or enlightenment (satori). We are looking to know the true nature of our highest self, the soul that makes us uniquely us.
Ensure you have the right tools, spiritual approach, and retraining techniques for your brain. You have the power to transform your life and habits significantly. Satori is here to set the stage with what is right for you. Join us for a free 5-day course here!
Burke, A., Lam, C. N., Stussman, B., & Yang, H. (2017). Prevalence and patterns of use of mantra, mindfulness, and spiritual meditation among adults in the United States. BMC complementary and alternative medicine, 17(1), 316. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-017-1827-8