Since the beginning of time, religious and spiritual organizations and individuals have known and recognized the benefits of meditation. Clearing the mind, relieving stress, calming the body. These are some of the benefits of meditation. Related to alcoholism and addiction, meditation has been a key aspect of recovery since the beginning of the first Twelve Step program, Alcoholics Anonymous, began in 1935. Other Twelve Step fellowships such as Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous took that tenet and incorporated into their own recovery programs. The 11th Step in Alcoholics Anonymous states “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” So meditation has been stressed as an integral part of recovery from alcohol and drug addiction for many, many years.
Health providers too have stressed the important of meditation and meditative-like activities such as yoga and breathing exercises to improve overall health and quality of life. The article “Mindfulness Meditation Benefits: 20 Reasons Why It’s Good For Your Mental And Physical Health” in The Huffington Post gives a list of the benefits of incorporating meditation into everyday life.
Using Meditation to Overcome Addiction
However now, the substance abuse treatment field is discovering with AA and NA and other 12 Step Fellowships, along with the health and medical community have know for some time: That meditation can not only support, but can also aid in overcoming addiction. In the PsychCentral article “Meditation Shown to Aid Addiction Therapies,” the benefits of meditation are discussed and demonstrated how when used in conjunction with medical and psychotherapeutic treatments, can aid someone suffering from chemical dependency or substance abuse in a recovery from drug addiction. Drug addicts often discuss a mind that races, never being able to sit still or keep present in the moment, or constantly being overstressed. Many times, it is reasons like these used by an addict or an alcoholic to explain their using drugs and drinking. The substances quiet their mind, allow them to feel “in the moment” or relieve stress. However, once having been through a detox and free of those substances, an addicts mind can return to that state: racing, stressed, always unable to focus on the here and now. So people with a history of substance abuse and drug addiction need a healthy alternative. Meditation can act as that bridge, helping to quiet the mind and relieve stress while also supporting the medical and psychological treatment being administered.
Since the beginning of time, religious and spiritual organizations and individuals have known and recognized the benefits of meditation. It is helpful the begin to see medical and scientific proof of the benefits that meditation can have on the body, mind and spirit. And it is even more helpful to see that the addiction treatment industry is beginning to recognize those benefits and incorporate them into the treatment of drugs and alcohol. Because if something has been working for so long, why not utilize it?