Recovery is a time of intense reflection, where people have to deal with all sorts of thoughts and memories rushing in at once. Many of these will be unpleasant and not knowing how to deal with them can make them even worse. That’s why it’s so important to learn about meditation and contemplation in recovery.
People in addiction recovery can spend a great deal of time in reflection. However, this reflection is often unhelpful. An unhappy memory comes to mind, and they’ll chastise themselves for their past actions, which are out of their control. Then, they’ll become resentful of themselves for not being able to let go of the bad feelings. The more they try to suppress their feelings, the worse they can become.
Through meditating and contemplating, people can find a time to reflect properly. By shutting their eyes and watching their breath, they close themselves off from the outside world. This allows them to just watch their thoughts and see what happens. When a negative one comes up, they can let it stay until it decides to pass. The next time a negative thought arises outside of meditating, they can shift into a more reflective mindset.
Going through addiction recovery means coming to terms with how one’s addiction has impacted themselves and the people around them. Even if an addict’s family and friends forgive them, they might have difficulty forgiving themselves. They’ll feel the brunt of the effects of their addiction. While they might know that past actions are out of their control, they’ll feel remorseful to the point of not being able to forgive themselves.
When one has a negative thought about the past while meditating, they can chastise or forgive themselves. It might seem simple, but there’s not much of a middle ground. As the thoughts come, they’re going to leave without a fuss or stick around. The more one blames themselves, the more they’re going to stick. However, if they’re willing to acknowledge the past without letting it define them, they’re going to be able to succeed.
Meditating trains the brain just like how physical exercise trains the body. When it comes time to put the actions into practice, meditators have a significant advantage. When they regularly put themselves at a distance from their thoughts, they can get through challenges with much more vigor.
This is especially important when going through addiction treatment. Substance abuse can greatly shape a person’s mind. Urges to use can be difficult to shake, especially in the early stages of treatment. When one meditates regularly, they can better realize what’s happening in their mind when they have any sort of thought or urge.
Going through addiction recovery is about more than just ending substance abuse. It’s also about putting tools that will allow success to use. Someone in treatment needs to better discipline themselves so that they don’t fall into the same traps that led them to addiction in the first place.
Meditating is a prime way to introduce discipline into one’s life. It can be done anywhere, at any time, and there’s absolutely no cost. People who are just starting should figure out a specific time and place to meditate. This could be fifteen minutes, in the morning after showering, in a certain chair or on a special mat. It’s perfectly fine if they have to do a shorter session due to time restrictions some days. The most important part is doing it, even if it’s for just one minute. Holding oneself accountable with meditating allows them to hold themselves accountable for other actions.
People need addiction treatment because they reach a point where they allow substances to determine their happiness. It can be frightening for them to think of a life without drugs or alcohol. If their happiness has been so artificial for so long, how can they find joy within themselves?
Meditating allows people to realize that happiness is not about feeling rushes of ecstasy or achieving their wildest dreams. It’s simply about appreciating the moment for what it is and appreciating themselves for who they are. When one is mindful, they can find peace of mind in any situation. The unhappy times aren’t quite as unhappy, because they allow the happy ones to shine even brighter. Best of all, through repeat practice, they can tap into these positive feelings anytime at absolutely no cost, financially or emotionally.
Meditation and contemplation in recovery aren’t meant for patients to scrutinize their thoughts. They allow them to analyze them and see where the logical gaps are. Through repeated effort, practitioners can prevent unpleasant thoughts from becoming particularly damaging. Addiction has taken hold of their minds, but these practices can help them reclaim them.