Josh Chandler | April 25, 2022

Benefits of Meditation for Addiction Recovery and How to Get Started

What Is Meditation?

Addiction recovery treatments are constantly evolving. A continuing trend in addiction recovery has been incorporating complementary, holistic, or alternative therapies in addition to more standard treatments. These complementary therapies include practices like yoga, acupuncture, and meditation.

Addiction is a biological disease directly connected to mental health, so it only makes sense that incorporating various types of practices that aid in mental health will help with addiction treatment. It is necessary for a person recovering from addiction to heal all aspects of addiction. Meditation and mindfulness have been proven effective tools in addiction recovery and relapse prevention.

The practice of meditation has been around for thousands of years, and historic records find it may date back to as early as 5000 BC. Initially, it was meant to help deepen understanding of life’s mystical and sacred forces. Many spiritual traditions and religions use meditation as part of their teachings and practices. It is still practiced today in cultures worldwide to create a sense of inner peace, calm, and harmony.

Meditation is commonly used for relaxation and to reduce stress. Meditation is to synchronize the body and mind to improve mental well-being and quality of life. It can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind.

Meditation is a set of techniques that encourage a heightened state of awareness and focused attention. It can involve sharpening focus and concentration, developing acceptance of difficult emotions, connecting the body and breath, and even altering consciousness. There is no right or wrong way to meditate, and there are several types of meditation, including:

  • Focused meditation
  • Spiritual meditation
  • Guided meditation
  • Mantra meditation
  • Progressive relaxation
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Loving-kindness meditation
  • Visualization meditation
  • Transcendental meditation
  • Movement meditation

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How Does Meditation Work?

Meditation can clear away information overload that builds up every day and contributes to stress. Focusing your attention on one thing can help create a sense of inner calm. Meditation works through several distinct mechanisms, including body awareness, emotion regulation, attention regulation, and a change in perspective on the self. Each part helps us in various aspects of our lives and aids in enhancing our ability to control our behaviors, attention, and thoughts. Regular meditation can help develop a more robust command over mind, body, and thought processes, including controlling anxious or depressive thoughts. It can change your brain, creating new neural pathways for optimism, well-being, and self-observation, resulting in self-awareness and mood stability and decreasing harsh judgments of ourselves and others. It is easy to see how these benefits can improve addiction recovery.

Learn more about the stats regarding staying clean after rehab here:

What Percentage of Addicts Stay Clean After Rehab?

Benefits of Meditation For Addiction Recovery

There are many benefits to regular mindfulness practices, but the value maybe even more significant for someone recovering from drug addiction and substance abuse. Here are some of the primary benefits of addiction recovery:

Reduce Stress

All stages of recovery can be stressful. After recovery, there are still the same life stressors you may go back to that may be triggers for relapse. Meditating in active addiction recovery helps set time aside to stop and relax, and it can even help you be less reactive to stress and recover from stress more efficiently.

Physical Benefits

Meditation can help lower blood pressure, increase energy, decrease tension-related pain, and increase serotonin. These can all be issues in drug addiction treatment. The body learns to make serotonin during withdrawals without drugs or alcohol present naturally, and meditation can help speed up this process and decrease withdrawal symptoms.

Improve Sleep

For those in recovery, they may struggle with getting good sleep as the body adjusts to no longer having the substance in their system. Meditation in recovery can help with insomnia and fatigue by calming the nervous system. It is also helpful to know how to focus your mind away from intrusive thoughts that may keep you awake.

Manage Pain

Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce pain significantly. For those in opiate addiction treatment which can no longer rely on opioid painkillers for their pain, meditation may be a good alternative.

Boost Mental Well-Being

Increasing self-awareness can better control emotions or triggers that may lead to anxiety and depression symptoms. Addiction is often part of a co-occurring disorder, and meditation can help manage those symptoms, including those associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder. 

Reconnect Neural Pathways 

Drug and alcohol addiction can physically alter the brain’s communication system. When the addictive substance is taken away, the brain must form new neural pathways to function without it. This can be very uncomfortable, but mediation can speed up the process of addiction treatment. Meditation creates new neural connections associated with positive feelings, which the brain once relied on drugs or alcohol for. As you practice meditating and repeatedly engage with those positive emotions, you reinforce the pathways, making it easier to reach those emotions outside of meditating.

Reduces Cravings and Relapse Prevention

Being able to control your thoughts and emotions can also be used to control impulses, such as cravings. Meditation can help reduce reactivity to emotions and triggers that may cause a relapse.

Getting Started With Meditation

There are many ways to get started with meditation, and even just five minutes a day can be incredibly beneficial. Meditation is very similar to exercise in that there are various ways to do it, and it takes practice to build up endurance for longer sessions. Many treatment centers offer meditation as part of their inpatient rehab and outpatient rehab programs, which may be an excellent place to try it out.

5 Meditation Classes in Los Angeles

There are a variety of free online guides to get you started with meditation and guided meditation videos that are just a search engine click away. But the most beneficial way to find the right type of meditation for you is to experience some live classes. Los Angeles, California is a mecca for various holistic practices and meditation centers, and here are just a few that you may want to visit:

Kadampa Meditation

Kadampa Meditation is beginner-friendly, with plenty of room to grow as you build your meditation practice. You can also find a kind community and a great place to meet new and interesting people or just learn about the benefits of meditation. Even though they are a Buddhist temple, they welcome everyone from all walks of life and offer many classes, events, and guided meditations that fit all individual needs and inclinations. Their primary purpose is to help their community experience peace of mind through meditation.

4953 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Hancock Park Meditation

You can experience one-on-one or group meditation classes both in-person and online with Hancock Park Meditation. Many of their members attest to overcoming past traumas, anxiety, and depression with their help, all issues that are pretty common co-occurring disorders with addiction. They are also familiar with the struggles most in addiction recovery suffer from and help treat addiction through reducing emotional triggers with meditation.

221 S Manhattan Pl, Los Angeles, CA 90004

Transcendental Meditation Los Angeles

Transcendental meditation is a technique brought to the west in 1959 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and is a technique that is easy to learn. It is practiced for 20 minutes twice a day and does not involve focusing or monitoring thoughts. Instead, it uses methods to automatically draw your attention inward through quieter and quieter levels of thought. Many of their members have found inner peace and relief from many mental health issues like anxiety and insomnia.

1655 Hillhurst Ave #102, Los Angeles, CA 90027

InsightLA Meditation

Insight LA is a non-profit meditation community that offers mindfulness meditations. They have classes in person and online and offer retreats for those who want to immerse themselves in the practice completely. InsightLA truly wants to help anyone that walks through its doors by providing financial support.

4300 W Melrose Ave E, Los Angeles, CA 90029

Body and Brain Yoga Tai Chi

This yoga and Tai Chi studio offers a variety of meditative practices, including traditional meditation, breathwork, and bodywork meditations like yoga and Tai Chi. This is an excellent option for those who feel regular meditation may not be a good fit for them and may benefit more from moving meditation practices.

7619 White Oak Ave, Reseda, CA 91335

Muse Drug Rehab Los Angeles, California

Meditation is just one of the many complementary tools that have helped many with dual diagnoses of addiction. Still, it is not a replacement for traditional drug abuse and alcohol addiction recovery treatment. At Muse Treatment Center in Los Angeles, we combine holistic treatments with evidence-based addiction recovery treatments, like cognitive behavioral therapy, to give every client a tailor-made program that fits their needs. Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that requires professional help in a recovery center to achieve long-term sobriety. If you or someone you love is struggling, please get in touch with us at (800) 426-1818 today. We are always ready to answer any questions you may have.

Addiction,Recovery,Sober Living,
Josh Chandler
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