Meditation is an important and widely used technique that has been proven effective in the treatment of addiction. By engaging in meditation, individuals are able to focus their attention on the present moment and find relief from stress and anxiety. Meditation allows individuals to develop greater self-awareness which can help them recognise when they might be vulnerable to relapse and take the necessary steps to prevent it.

Liberty House promotes meditation as a complementary and holistic activity alongside other addiction therapies. Our clients are guided through the meditation process and encouraged to develop their own practice as part of their daily routine.

Meditation woman meditating

Meditation and addiction

Meditation is an ancient practice closely associated with many religions such as Buddhism. It has been used for centuries as a means of achieving spiritual enlightenment, connecting to a higher self, calming the mind and reducing stress. In recent years, its benefits have also been recognised in the field of addiction treatment. For people recovering from addiction, meditation can be a powerful tool for managing cravings and staying sober.

One reason meditation is often employed in addiction rehabilitation programmes is that it facilitates personal growth and self-reflection. Those suffering from addiction may not have had many opportunities to step back from their thoughts and ruminate over their substance abuse or behavioural addiction.

Meditation allows you to slow down and reflect on your experiences without attaching emotion to them so that you can examine patterns and feelings that might otherwise go unnoticed. For these reasons, many professionals believe that incorporating meditation into addiction rehab can help you get the most out of your recovery journey.

What to expect from a meditation session

During a typical meditation session, you can expect to be guided through various breathing and relaxation exercises by a trained instructor. These exercises will help you to focus your mind, clear away stress and centre yourself in the present moment.

When you first begin participating in meditation sessions, you may feel uncomfortable or unsure of what to do. However, over time, you will start to notice positive changes in both your mind and body.

After a meditation session, you may feel lighter and more relaxed, with clearer thoughts and an increased sense of inner peace. Many people also find that regular meditation helps them to manage negative emotions such as anxiety or depression more effectively over time.

Meditation techniques used in addiction recovery

While you may picture meditation as sitting uncomfortably cross-legged for hours on end, this is actually not the case. There are many different styles and techniques used in meditation, and it is important to assess which one is most likely to resonate with you.

Mindfulness meditation

Mindfulness meditation focuses on bringing awareness to the present moment, using mindfulness techniques such as focusing on your breath, awareness of bodily sensations or observing thoughts without judgement. By teaching individuals to recognise and accept their feelings without reacting to them, mindfulness meditation can help people gain control over cravings and other triggers associated with addiction.

Guided meditation

Guided meditation is a method of meditation in which the practitioner follows verbal cues or visualisations provided by an instructor or guide. Through guided meditation, the practitioner becomes fully focused on his or her breathing and can enter into a deep state of relaxation. This process helps to quiet the mind and remove distractions, which is highly beneficial in addiction recovery.

Moving meditation

Moving meditation, also known as mindful movement, focuses on bringing your attention to a specific activity – this may be yoga, walking in the garden or even eating a meal. The aim is to focus on slow, purposeful movements and being present in the moment. This type of meditation works well for those who don’t enjoy still meditation.

Focused meditation

Focused meditation is a practice that draws your attention to one of your senses. For example, something you can see, hear, smell or feel. The goal is to concentrate on this one thing, bringing the awareness back to it every time you catch your mind wandering. This focused approach acts as a great tool for managing cravings during addiction recovery.

The benefits of meditation in addiction recovery

Meditation is a powerful tool and has been proven to promote positive mental health, helping individuals to better cope with the psychological and emotional challenges of addiction, relapse and recovery. Specifically, studies have found that regular meditation can reduce stress, anxiety and depression – states which are known to prompt substance abuse and addiction.

Meditation can also help in reducing the physical and psychological cravings associated with addiction, guiding you back to the present moment and clearing the mind of irrational or self-damaging thoughts. By practising mindfulness and adopting an accepting attitude toward your emotions, you can gain a greater sense of control over your thoughts and actions.

For those in addiction recovery, it is easy to get trapped in particular thought sequences, unhealthy behavioural patterns or focus on unpleasant memories. Meditation can help to break these harmful cycles and allows you to come back to the here and now.

The meditation techniques learned in rehab treatment can also be carried through to your everyday life once you walk out of our doors. You can use meditation techniques anywhere and at any time. This means that, if ever you face a difficult moment, challenging circumstance or intense craving, you will be able to divert your focus and remain in control.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best type of meditation for addiction?
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to addiction treatment. The most effective type of meditation will depend on you as an individual and what resonates with you. Some will prefer mindfulness meditation while others may enjoy moving meditation – you do not have to like every style to reap the benefits. The important thing is to try each technique and find the right one for your personal journey.
Does meditation fix addiction?
Meditation is not a quick fix for addiction. Rather, it is a complementary activity that supports you along your journey. Addiction is a chronic condition that requires a lot of hard work and dedication to overcome – this includes detox, therapy and aftercare. While meditation can help to support a successful ongoing recovery, you will also need to undergo an intensive treatment programme.
Do I have to be religious to practise meditation?
No, while meditation is linked to certain religions, you do not need to be religious to benefit from it. Meditation is more of a mindful exercise that strengthens your mental health and clarity. It does not need to be practised with reference to religious traditions.