For many people struggling with addiction, the idea of meditation may seem pointless as they misconceive meditation as just sitting in silence for hours on end. However, meditation can actually be a powerful tool in the fight against addiction.
By teaching people to focus on the present moment and to observe their thoughts without judgement, meditation can help break the cycle of negative thinking that often leads to relapse. In addition, meditation can help to reduce stress and anxiety, two common triggers for substance abuse, and offer a much-needed sense of calm and peace for those in recovery.
What is meditation therapy?
Meditation therapy is an evidence-based treatment that can help people in addiction counselling to recover from alcohol addiction, drug addiction and behavioural addiction. Meditation therapy sessions typically last for thirty to sixty minutes, during which time the therapist will guide you through a series of breathing and visualisation exercises. The therapist may also use aromatherapy, music therapy or other modalities to help you relax and focus.
There are many different types of meditation that can be used in rehab, including mindfulness meditation, body scan meditation and Loving-Kindness meditation. Each type of meditation has its own unique benefits, but all forms of meditation share the goal of helping you to connect with your inner thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental way. This self-awareness can be a powerful tool in recovery, as it can help you to identify and change negative thought patterns that may trigger your addiction.
Meditation therapy at Sanctuary Lodge
Sanctuary Lodge offers regular meditation therapy workshops as part of our comprehensive addiction treatment programme. Addiction is a mental and psychological disorder and so being able to control your thoughts and emotions is a massive part of recovery. Sanctuary Lodge uses meditation in rehab to help our clients gain this control.
To understand more about the benefits of meditation in addiction treatment, Sanctuary Lodge’s expert meditation therapist, Julie Quiery, explains:
“Meditation regulates our nervous system and boosts our immune system; the positive effects on our emotional and physical health reduce stress and help us observe thoughts and emotions. Meditation improves sleep, concentration and focus and provides a sense of inner peace and balance.
Mindfulness increases and promotes an awareness of living in the present moment, reducing anxiety and depression by finding that calm place of acceptance, clarity and joy of being. Daily meditation rewires the brain and improves memory leading to more mindful behaviour and increasing the quality of our life and relationships.”
How does meditation therapy complement other addiction therapies?
Meditation therapy is often used in conjunction with other addiction treatment therapies to help clients achieve optimum results. When used together, these therapies can complement each other and create a well-rounded treatment plan.
For example, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) focuses on helping people with addictions develop positive coping mechanisms. One of the key aspects of DBT is teaching clients how to regulate their emotions which can be a challenge for those who struggle with addiction because they often use substances or addictive behaviours to soothe or escape unwanted feelings. Meditation can be a useful complementary therapy for these clients as it can help them to develop a greater awareness and control of their thoughts so they don’t need to rely on substances or harmful activities.
Group therapy is another common type of addiction treatment therapy. In group therapy, clients share their experiences and learn from each other in a supportive environment. Meditation can help to ease anxiety and promote open communication within the group setting. When clients feel more relaxed, they are more likely to share openly and honestly, which can lead to breakthroughs in recovery.
How does meditation help after you leave rehab?
After you return home from rehab, there are various ways meditation can play a huge part in preventing relapse and keeping you on the road to recovery.:
Reduces stress and anxiety: One of the main reasons people relapse is because they cannot handle the stress and anxiety of everyday life without drugs or alcohol. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels, which can help prevent relapse.
Improves sleep: People in recovery often have trouble sleeping. This can lead to fatigue and irritability and you may be tempted to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. Meditation can help improve sleep quality which can in turn reduce the likelihood of relapse.
Increases self-awareness: Meditation helps increase self-awareness, which can be helpful in recovery as it allows you to become more aware of your triggers and how to avoid them. This is very important when you first leave the sanctuary of rehab.
Promotes positive thinking: Negative thinking is often a trigger for relapse, so promoting positive thinking through meditation can help reduce the risk of relapse. It will stop you from dwelling on negative thoughts and help you focus on the positive aspects of your life.
Connects you with a support network: The network of staff and other clients that you connect with in rehab is a hugely beneficial aspect of successful addiction recovery. We keep this connection going after you leave rehab through ongoing weekly group therapy sessions and our Alumni Network. Joining a meditation group or attending meditation classes can provide an additional support network of people who can help you in your new healthy life.