Today, drug and alcohol dependence plague millions of Americans.

And with mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder on the rise due to strenuous current global events, there has been a significant increase in substance abuse cases.

Substance abuse and addiction are forms of mental illness. And as mental illnesses, alcohol and drug addictions directly impact brain areas to make daily life nearly impossible for those who struggle with them.

Addiction Treatment Can Help People Learn to Live a Sober Life

Luckily, even though drug addiction and other forms of substance abuse are considered incurable an brain disease. There are ways to treat these mental health disorders while preserving an individual’s overall well-being.

Addiction treatment programs focusing on holistic recovery use many different complementary and integrative health practices to help their clients heal. For instance, St. John’s Recovery Place (SJRP) uses a holistic treatment that includes meditation practice. Even though meditation for addiction recovery is not used by all treatment centers, those who incorporate meditation in recovery realize many health benefits.

Alcohol use disorders and drug dependence create chronic pain. Yet, with recovery meditation, many treatment centers can teach individuals how to breathe deeply, regulate emotions, and heal to live happy lives again.

Addiction’s Affect on Mental Health and Physical Well-Being

Dependence on drugs or alcohol can do severe damage to a person’s mental health, body, self-confidence, and even personal or professional relationships.

Yet, many individuals do all they can not to observe thoughts and studies pointing out the adverse side effects of substance use. Even so, the consequences of abuse cannot and will not be ignored. Some of the most common effects of addiction on the mind and body include:

  • Appetite changes
  • Weight loss
  • Weight gain
  • Increased anxiety
  • Inability to regulate emotions
  • Drug cravings
  • Alcohol cravings
  • Memory problems
  • Issues focusing
  • Strain on the liver
  • Higher risk of developing liver disease
  • Higher risk for stroke
  • Depression
  • Higher risk for heart disease
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Digestive issues
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased risk for seizures
  • Mental confusion
  • Motor skills impairment
  • Dental issues

Dependence issues can affect every aspect of a person’s life, including their ability to live in the present moment and enjoy a quiet setting.

Additionally, each form of addiction can affect individuals in different ways. Thus, each alcohol or drug abuse case can manifest other adverse side effects at different times. It makes sense that substance use disorders are complex medical conditions. Yet, despite their complications, recovery programs can help individuals overcome even the most severe dependencies to live happy, healthy lives again.

Which Meditation is Best

One of the best ways addiction treatment and recovery programs help support their clients is by teaching them how to practice meditation.

Additionally, there are all different kinds of meditation practices. Some of which are better to learn breathing techniques from. And some that are better for movement. Regardless of the type you use, meditation can help treat addiction and its many side effects. But meditating can have many other benefits too! You don’t need a master’s degree to use meditation for addiction recovery. Even so, speaking with a professional and taking some guided meditation sessions can significantly enhance the benefits you receive from this mindfulness practice.

Some Types of Meditation May Be a More Natural Fit for You

To determine which types of meditation practices you should try, you can speak with your treatment coordinator about the meditation therapies available. Additionally, you can discuss what methods would best suit your recovery needs. The 9 most common types of guided meditations are:

Mindfulness Meditation –

Mindfulness meditation is a practice that combines concentration with awareness by paying attention to your thoughts without judgment or simply observing them. This type of meditation is good for practicing independently without a teacher or guide.

Moving Meditation –

On the other hand, movement meditation is a form of meditative practice that incorporates mindful and slow movement. It focuses on the actions of the body, not the end result. Some forms of movement meditation include stretching, walking, and qigong.

Focused Meditation –

This form focuses on using your five senses to zero in on something like your breathing or a candle. It is a concentrated meditation, ideal for anyone who needs to practice focusing.

Spiritual Meditation –

Traditionally practiced in Eastern religions, this form of meditation has you focus on the silence around you while connecting with your God or the Universe.

Mantra Meditation –

A form of guided meditation that can also be practiced individually, mantra uses a repetitive word, phrase, or sound to clear the mind. This type is good for those who have trouble focusing on their breathing and prefer not to be in silence.

Transcendental Meditation –

A specific meditation program that allows you to go into a deep state of inner silence.

Progressive Relaxation Meditation –

Also known as body scan meditation, uses mental imagery or physically tightening and relaxing muscle groups to “move” stress and tension through and out of your body. Promotes tension relief and is often used before bedtime to relax the mind.

Loving-Kindness Meditation –

Loving-kindness practices send and receive thoughts of compassion and kindness towards yourself and others. Ideal for those with anger and resentment issues.

Visualization Meditation –

Here, the individual uses their five senses to vividly imagine calm and positive scenes. Alternatively, reaching a specific goal. Both forms reduce stress and increase inner peace.

One of the most incredible things about meditation for recovery is that it does not need to be complex to work.

You can simply practice taking deep breaths in a quiet space while sitting to start your meditative journey. And enjoy the benefit of knowing you are helping yourself find inner peace while working through addiction recovery.

How Does Meditation Help Recovery?

A holistic approach to recovery for drug and alcohol rehabilitation is the most beneficial. It does not simply focus on treating an alcohol use disorder or drug dependence. But instead, it uses a whole-person approach that heals the body, mind, and spirit.

In so doing, a person can dive deeper into the root causes behind the addiction.

The Meditative Approach Allows for Deeper Understanding

Thus, giving the client a greater ability to maintain sobriety in the future. Holistic rehabilitation supplements traditional therapies with complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), such as meditation.

Meditation Helps Support Addiction Recovery by Teaching You How to be Mindful, Remain Calm, and Handle Triggers.

People who struggle with addiction or a substance use disorder have a harder time dealing with everyday stressors. Anxiety, poor sleep, pain, decision-making, and others can all become triggers that push you to relapse.

Yet, you’re improving your brain’s emotion regulation with meditation, particularly mindfulness meditation.

Many studies have been completed on the effects of meditation on addiction. One study, in particular, proved the effectiveness of meditation on smokers, showing improved self-control in emotion regulation and stress reduction. The study inferred similar results could be achieved for drug and alcohol addiction treatment.

The Benefits of Meditation in Recovery

Today, meditation is increasing in popularity in general as more and more people realize the health benefits of the practice, both mental and physical.

Some of the most commonly noted benefits of meditation include:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Emotional regulation
  • Enhanced self-awareness
  • Longer attention span
  • Reduced age-related memory loss
  • Feelings of kindness
  • Boosted mood
  • Greater confidence
  • Improved sleep
  • Pain control
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Decreased symptoms of digestive problems

Moreover, meditation can benefit those recovering from a substance use disorder.

Meditation Can Be a Part of Clinical Mental Health Counseling or an At-Home Treatment

Meditation is a powerful tool that provides control and insight, allowing for a more well-rounded addiction recovery experience, with better chances of long-term sobriety.

Meditation has many individual health benefits but can also help with:

Self Control. As individuals practice mindful meditation, they are taught to focus on the current moment without dwelling on the past or future. They become very aware of their thoughts and understand that they may not control their ideas. But they do control whether or not they act on those thoughts.

Meditation Can Help You Make Better Choices Moving Forward

Emotional Balance. When your thoughts are unfocused, and your mind wanders, it’s easy to get caught up in emotional ups and downs. Training your mind to focus on one thing at a time allows you to remain calm and be much more stable. 

Relapse Prevention. Because meditation is an insightful exercise. Individuals who practice can recognize changes in thought patterns that indicate they are heading for relapse and address the situation before it becomes a problem. 

Source of Enjoyment. Meditation can be a very relaxing and enlightening experience. Many people find that they continue meditation well after rehab.

Stress Relief. By training your mind to focus and stay in the moment, you create a sense of calm and peacefulness within yourself. Stress has no place in a calm environment, and you’ll be better equipped to handle stressful situations. 

Relationships. Many individuals in rehab have rocky relationships with friends and loved ones. Mainly through loving-kindness meditation, they can work on fixing those relationships and/or healing from any hurt caused by them.

Tips for Beginning Mindfulness Meditation

  1. Meditate in the morning. It takes dedication to make something a habit. If you meditate in the morning, you get it out of the way and can’t make an excuse about not getting it done later.
  2. It’s ok to get frustrated. Especially when you’re just starting out, meditation takes practice. You’ll likely get anxious or frustrated initially, but don’t let that deter you. Instead, give these feelings your full attention. Acknowledge them, but don’t let them control you. Keep at it, and eventually, you WILL find your rhythm.
  3. Check-in with yourself. After your meditation, take a moment to think about how you feel mentally, physically, and emotionally. Write down why and let it go if you skipped a mediation session. Don’t let excuses build up in your head. Remind yourself of the benefits and schedule time to get it done tomorrow.

The St. John’s Approach to Addiction Recovery

At St. John’s Recovery Place, we believe in creating a treatment center dedicated to holistic healing. Innovative and traditional, we at SJRP marry addiction treatment practices to make our clients’ most well-rounded healing environment.

Not every recovery center works the way we do. And not every addiction treatment center offers its clients the opportunity to practice meditating as a form of therapy.

St. John's Recovery Place is Here to Care for You Throughout Rehab

St. John’s approach to addiction recovery incorporates meditation and other therapy forms to help the mind, body, and spirit heal despite what other rehabs do. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, we here at SJRP can help. And if you would like to know more about us or our recovery practices, we are only one phone call or website visit away. Call us today at 1-833-397-3422 to learn how we can help make meditation work for you.