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Can Mindfulness Help With Addiction Recovery?

It brings you back to your body and the present moment, and allows you to live right here, right now. As cravings continue to arise, especially in early recovery, individuals can observe their thoughts and desires without having to act on them. Recovering addicts learn that they are not responsible for their thoughts, but they are responsible for how they react to those thoughts. Through meditation they can acknowledge their addictive thoughts without trying to push them away, yet choose the path of recovery. If you’re in professional addiction treatment, you can consult with your care team to incorporate meditation into your treatment and even learn advanced skills. Building new skills does not happen quickly, so patience while learning and practicing this new coping technique is essential.

By remembering to take part in these mindfulness practices every day, our journey of recovery can become ever deeper, more meaningful, and more rewarding. Individuals who practice meditation gain insights into themselves that help them make decisions that support their physical and mental health and wellbeing. Recovering addicts who keep in touch with themselves through daily meditation are more likely to recognize early warning signs that they may be headed for relapse. They can then use their other recovery tools to keep destructive behavior at bay. Although mindful meditation cannot cure cancer, studies have found it helps lung cancer and breast cancer patients deal with pain, stress, low self-esteem and fatigue. One study also found people with chronic pain who meditated were able to reduce their pain by up to 42%, which led to better sleep, improved mood and better activity levels.

SOBRIETY CHECKPOINT - Emotional Sobriety, Addiction Recovery, Mental Health, Sober Life, Alcoholics Anonymous

If we want to gain insight and wisdom, grow, and become the most optimal version of ourselves, then we can harness that power from reflection meditation. Most types of meditation have three common components that are the key to their effectiveness. An “anchor” keeps you linked to the present and helps you to regulate your thoughts. However, an anchor can be anything the practitioner chooses, such as sounds they hear around them or their own bodily functions. The key is to find something that keeps you centered and helps you avoid having distracting thoughts. Once you find your anchor, stick to it, and it will become easier and easier to keep yourself focused.

  • Given that rehab is a $50 billion industry, I felt this was a lost opportunity to utilize mind-body medicine in a way that wasn’t superficial or trivial.
  • Research is needed to test the comparative effectiveness of brief versus extended MBIs and the relative cost-effectiveness of these models.
  • Ask yourself what could have prompted this feeling to come up, or what kind of belief you have about yourself or other people which would have caused the feeling to come up.
  • Alternatively, he could use mindfulness to disengage from this negative emotional state, arrest the automatic impulse and concomitant experience of craving, and then re-commit himself to recovery by contacting his 12-Step fellowship sponsor.
  • The adequacy of randomization was examined in all studies and analysis of covariance and linear mixed modeling were often used to control for any remaining pretreatment differences.

Develop awareness of personal triggers and habitual reactions and learn ways to create a pause in this seemingly automatic process. The important thing is to find whatever works for you—your special connection to that quiet place where you can become mindful, listen to your heart and renew your spirit again and again. Addiction limited our ability to connect with others in any meaningful way.

Promoting cognitive control over automaticity

According to the Addiction Policy Reform (APF) Survey, 1 in 3 report changes in treatment or recovery support services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, results show that more than 34% of the 1,079 respondents addiction meditation reported changes or disruptions in accessing treatment or recovery support services. Fourteen percent purported that they were unable to receive their needed services, and 2% say they were unable to access naloxone services.

meditation for addiction recovery

Lastly, meditation can teach individuals to accept what is, put the past in perspective, or create intentions which are beneficial for someone in treatment. However, not all studies of mind-body medicine for addiction have shown overwhelmingly positive results. Some randomized controlled trials did not show that mind-body medicine was better than cognitive behavioral therapy in decreasing alcohol and cocaine use, or in abstaining from cigarette use. Randomized controlled trials suggest that MBIs are a promising treatment for substance misuse and exert their effects via increases in levels of mindfulness across a wide array of substance-misusing behaviors and clinical populations. Future research should employ larger samples, longitudinal designs with follow-up periods of at least 1-year, manualized interventions with treatment fidelity assessment, intent-to-treat analyses, and probability sampling designs allowing generalizability to specific clinical and general populations.

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