Meditation For Sobriety: Does it Help?
Day by day the world moves at a faster pace and continues to be filled with distractions. With that, the concept of sitting still and taking a moment to just be is becoming more and more foreign. Whenever negative feelings arise, we’ve conditioned ourselves to shut off our minds with social media and/or substance abuse. As a short term fix its true that it can provide temporary relief. However, in the long run these habits can escalate feelings of anxiety, stress, sadness etc.
What if I told you that you could relieve yourself of those negative feelings by not even having to get out of bed? It’s true! It’s called meditation. Now, before getting overwhelmed, or assuming you’re not enough of a “hippy” to meditate, hear me out. The concept of meditation has been exaggerated and misconstrued. Meditation isn’t about forcing yourself to sit for 8 hours straight, or levitating off the ground. It is just about mindfulness. Within yourself, of your body and your surroundings. Consider it more of a mindfulness practice if it makes the concept more approachable.
What exactly is meditation?
Scientifically it’s referred to as neuroplasticity. It consists of creating new neural pathways through repetition of thoughts and emotions. The brain becomes stronger (literally, because it’s a muscle) and the new neural pathways that develop change the way our brains are conditioned to think and react. With time the brain can re-wire itself to strengthen the areas that, for example, promote self-confidence and discipline, and forget the parts that bring negative feelings and poor habits. For this reason, it’s an invaluable practice to incorporate into the daily lives of anyone working towards sobriety or looking to bring more peace into their lives.
Can meditation reverse the effects of substance abuse?
Specifically with drinking, it’s been proven that long term substance abuse weakens the area of the brain called the inferior frontal gyrus. This is responsible for decision-making and impulse control. Through meditation the neural pathways can be strengthened and significantly reduce the damage caused from side effects of substance abuse such as anxiety, memory loss and depression.
The First Step Is The Hardest
Meditation looks different for everyone. For some it is taking long walks, for others it’s listening to a guided meditation while laying in bed. It will take some time to figure out what works for you, but the most important part is consistency. It will be challenging, and there will be moments of discomfort and restlessness, but like all good things, they take time. Just 5 minutes of meditation a day can completely rewire the brains thought patterns, and can be a superpower in your recovery.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, seeking out a drug rehabilitation center is the safest and fastest resource to start your recovery. With the help of medical professionals in combination with meditation, you have the power to turn your life around and find the peace you deserve!