Addiction changes the brain. Depending on the drug, addiction cravings can become such an automatic trigger that it’s hard to consider other choices or actions. In a different way, meditation can change the brain. While addiction triggers become automatic and harder to manage, meditation is a practice that you can use to train your brain to find new ways to face the craving.
Should meditation be a part of my recovery? Absolutely! From the outside, meditation looks pretty simple. You sit and do nothing but breathe. However, inside your head, there’s a lot going on. Those who learn to use meditation long-term can actually increase the depth of brain tissue related to
- emotional regulation
- self-referential processing
If you have found that addiction and drug exposure has led to an inability to make new memories or learn new tasks, meditation can help. If you have been beating yourself up for too many years to count, meditation can at least help you grown new tissue that you can train to be more accepting of your addiction as a disease. Finally, you may be able to step back and see yourself from a new perspective.
Spiritual, Physical and Psychological Benefits
The physical benefits of meditation can benefit you in many ways. You may find that a meditation session can energize you as though you’ve had a nap. You may also be able to relax before bedtime with a meditation session focused on lowering your blood pressure and slowing your heartrate a bit.
For those who struggle with nerve pain, meditation can soothe the nerves and reduce the risk of muscle spasms around the affected nerve. Because nerve pain can often be the original reason for a prescription of opiates that goes off the rails, finding a way to manage such discomfort from inside your own mind and spirit can be incredibly empowering. Planning to enter detox can be stressful. Getting through it can be incredibly rigorous.
Meditation is a wonderful way to improve your focus on the life you want on the other side of your detox and treatment process. If you can find the focus to build a meditation practice in the treatment phase, it will be a useful tool on your recovery path. Anxiety is a common mental and physical reaction to the pangs of withdrawal and the physical cravings of detox.
You may have been avoiding detox because the struggle of withdrawal is frightening and dangerous. While you will need physical care and should never attempt detox alone, learning to open your mind with meditation can help. For those who believe, there are also spiritual benefits to meditation. If your religious experiences have not been positive, meditation is a lovely way to go to church in your head without dealing with the baggage.
It’s important to note that meditation isn’t directly tied to any particular religious trend. It may be most obviously associated with Buddhism, but meditational trances have long been experienced by believers in many different traditions. The key to effective meditation is to remember that you are creating a space of peace in your mind. If you struggle with guilt or pressure from family members or acquaintances who consider addiction to be a choice, you need a place to go where you can escape this judgment and pressure.
Counseling can help, group therapies can help, but when you’re alone, you can find your own support structure and step into it when you need it with steady meditation practice. Your meditation practice may lead to a nap. You might also sit there and think about lunch. The walls might melt, or you just might find yourself in a state of physical and mental peace. To start, make sure you use a timer. If you can, light a candle so you have something to look at.
Breathe, study the flame and gently guide your mind to an open, empty place. Treat your mind like you would a beloved toddler who wanders off to look at a dandelion. Bring it back to emptiness with a gentle prod. Recent world events mean that meditation could be a great option for a lot of people. In just ten minutes, you can make tremendous strides in soothing your mind and rebuilding your neural pathways away from addictive tracks. Ready to get started? Call us today at 833-680-0165.