Regardless of where you are in your recovery journey, you have probably heard people talking about the benefits of meditation for alcohol recovery. Those benefits are real. Meditation in recovery not only helps you get past the urge to drink, but it also helps with everyday life stresses.
Unfortunately, many people avoid meditation believing that it’s just woo-woo having little or no basis in scientific proof. While it does relate to spirituality, alternative medicine, and mysticism, meditation has also been researched and shown to have many health benefits for people who practice it regularly.
According to Healthline.com, various studies have shown that meditation helps with stress, anxiety, emotional health, and self-awareness. Those are just a few of the benefits research has attributed to meditation.
If you have never practiced meditation before, you may feel intimidated by it. In fact, there are a lot of myths about what meditation is and what it isn’t. Misunderstandings include:
- You must have a clear mind the entire time.
- Proper meditation takes hours.
- You have to sit cross-legged on the floor.
- It’s too hard.
- If you don’t have a spiritual experience while meditating, you’re not doing it right.
These myths make meditation seem too difficult to justify the outcome. After all, don’t we have better things to do with our time than sit and do nothing? That isn’t what you’re doing when you meditate, though. When you meditate, you clear your mind, so you can do those other things better.
Tips for Meditation for Alcohol Recovery
If you have used drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with mental health problems, meditation offers a much more effective alternative. If you are curious about meditation for alcohol recovery and have considered adding it to your sober program, these 5 tips will help you get started.
Decide How You Want to Meditate
You can choose from many different types of meditation including mindfulness, Chakra, Yoga, and so many more. For now, however, just consider these two: self-directed or guided meditation. With self-directed meditation, you can use the tips in this article to get started. However, I recommend guided mediation at first so you can relieve yourself of the uncertainty of doing it wrong.
To be honest, no matter how you do it, you are probably doing it right, but it is hard to believe that at first. When someone guides you through meditation, they tell you how to breathe, what to focus on, and point out difficulties you may be having. For example, your mind will roam. You can’t get away from that because that’s what the brain has evolved to do. When you use guided meditation, the guide will remind you to clear your head. All you have to do is listen and follow the instructions.
Pick Your Environment
It doesn’t really matter where you meditate for alcohol recovery. You can practice meditation in your car, sitting on a rock, or laying in a hot tub. I have even taken a few minutes to meditate in a dark closet at work to clear my mind.
Some people prefer listening to music while meditating, and others like to sit in silence. You can even use the sound of the wind blowing through the trees or the hum of cars in the distance. Whatever you chose, it should be calming.
Finally, many people add smells to their meditation. Lavender has calming properties that help to clear the mind and bring enlightenment. On the other hand, citrus smells are believed to enhance energy.
Focus On Your Breathing
One of the first things any guided meditation facilitator will tell you is to focus on your breath. Start by taking a long, slow breath in and a long slow breath out. Repeat this cycle 2 or 3 more times. Paying attention to your breath helps you focus so you can avoid distractions.
After those first few breaths, return your breathing to normal. If your mind wanders while meditating, you can again focus on your breath. Don’t fight distracting thoughts or try to push them out of your head. Just focus on your breath. Alternately, I often turn to the sounds of nature such as the wind or a bird singing to re-focus my mind.
Start Small and Work Your Way Up
If you’ve never meditated before, the thought of sitting for an hour with a silent mind might intimidate you. The good news is that you don’t have to sit for an hour. In fact, I wouldn’t even suggest that when you first start out. Instead, start with 5 or 10-minutes for your meditation for alcohol recovery goal.
Five minutes will seem much longer than it is at first, so use a timer to keep track. When you are ready, extend your time a little bit more. Keep doing this until you have decided that the meditation time is long enough. You can also time it with music. Start by meditating for the length of one song. Then, after you are comfortable, try extending it to two songs.
There really is no idea time for meditation, although in Brain Bliss by Dawson Church, Ph.D., he suggests that by practicing meditation using the right techniques for only 12 minutes a day, in 8 weeks, your brain will change enough to show measurable results.
You don’t have to practice meditation for alcohol recovery daily, but the frequency and length of time you meditate should be consistent. Additionally, for many people, picking a certain time of day helps. For example, meditating in the morning before other activities begin means you can have quiet meditation time. Furthermore, it’s a great way to get your day off to a positive start.
When you have selected how often you will meditate and for how long, block the time off on your calendar to help you with consistency. Then whether you feel you need to meditate or not, use that time to complete your intention. Meditate.
It’s easy to let the habit go during busy times. Those times, though, are often when you need it the most as meditation helps with stress and decision making. You may also want to practice meditation on days that it’s not scheduled. That’s okay. Remember, it’s not like alcohol. You can’t have too much meditation for alcohol recovery.
Bonus Meditation for Alcohol Recovery Quick Tip
Do this short mindfulness meditation any time and anywhere you need it. You can even do it in line at the grocery store. It’s called box or squared breathing. Breath in for a count of 4. Hold for a count of 4. Breath out for a count of 4. Hold for a count of 4. Then repeat. The pause will calm you while the counting clears your head of what’s bothering you.
Meditation for Alcohol Recovery Suggestions
The first time I tried meditation in recovery, I went to a meditation center and was guided by a Pranic Meditation expert. I had a life-changing experience that opened up the world of spirituality to me. Since then, I have tried several types of meditations. If you want to start practicing meditation for alcohol recovery, try a short video on YouTube. These three 10-minute meditations are my favorites.
Grounding meditations help to release negative energy and pull in positive energy. It also helps release anxiety, increase focus, and leave you with an overall balanced feeling.
Inner Child Healing
If you want to work towards self-forgiveness and self-love, an inner child healing meditation is perfect for you. It’s a great way to release the pain of childhood traumatic events.
The Sacred Feminine Within
This Native American chant isn’t a guided meditation, but it inspired me so much that I started using it to lift my spirit. If you want to try it, find a spot in nature, turn on the sound, take a few cleansing breaths, and focus on the things you see. It immediately became my favorite way to meditate.
Last Words on Mediation for Alcohol Recovery
One final note, Church writes in Bliss Brain that meditation can induce the production of “the 7 neurochemicals of ecstasy.” These chemicals increase the serotonin and dopamine levels and have similar effects as THC (marijuana), psilocybin, and cocaine resulting in a natural high without the complications of physical addiction.
While I have never ended a meditation session feeling as if I’ve experienced three different highs at the same time, I have always ended my meditations much happier and stress-free than when I started.
If you want more tips for alcohol recovery, subscribe to the Now Sober YouTube channel where we post weekly videos to help people in recovery with tips and motivation for sobriety. And don’t forget to contact us if you need help with your alcohol recovery.