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Posted by on in Other Addictions

Posted earlier by Me @ http://www.newbridgerecovery.com/meditation-for-the-average-person/

In my experience, one of the most challenging activities for people new in recovery is meditation. The only thing that gives newcomers to sobriety more difficulty is spirituality and finding a higher power. Many of us view meditation as a mystical practice, reserved for monks and clergymen. The truth is that our misconceptions about meditation are often the obstacles that prevent us from incorporating it into our lives. Learn the truth about meditation, and you will discover it is not as unachievable as you may think.

What is Meditation?

When many of us think of meditation we picture a person sitting cross-legged, eyes closed, unmoving. I define meditation as simply purposely paying attention to the present moment and involving intentional awareness of thoughts, feelings, and emotions as they occur. In a sense, meditation is a form of non-judgmental observation. The three primary elements of mediation, according to Buddhists teachings, are awareness, attention, and remembering.

How Do I Meditate?

There are no ‘rules’ or instructions on how to meditate. In other words, there really is no right or wrong way to try meditation. I will offer up some ways that I personally have found  are helpful ways of meditating and others experience with meditation. In the mornings I set aside time, either still in bed or before my morning coffee, for mediation. To begin I close my eyes, not required, and start focusing on my breathing. I take deep breaths in through my nose and slow exhales out through my mouth. Mindful breathing is a technique used in yoga and psychology to relax the body and mind. I then open my mind to incoming thoughts or feelings. When a thought or emotion arises I simply try and trace its cause. Why am I feeling impatient? What am I looking forward to today? The important concept is to identify these thoughts and emotions, reflect on them, and let them pass. Meditation teaches us to become tolerant of all our emotions and thoughts, thus taking away their influence on our lives. There is another form of mediation I incorporate into my recovery. I read a page or passage of recovery literature or a spiritual text and spend some quiet time really processing and reflecting on what I have just read. Reading spiritual or meditative guides can be a form of meditation in itself. In these practices we are quieting the mind and really examine ourselves. People have reported that physical activities such as walking, running, biking, or yoga can be a form of meditation. Sometimes doing exercise can help calm our mind and inspire thought. Whatever way works for you, just remember that meditation does not have to be this formal practice, it is just about taking time out of the day to quiet the mind and examine our thoughts and emotions.

 

The Benefits of Meditation

  • Meditation increases a person’s ability to manage stress
  • Mediation can treat and even prevent depression, freeing the person of their negative thoughts
  • Mediation has been proven to enhance the body’s immune system
  • People who practice mediation report better interpersonal relationships
  • Practicing mediation can help us spot the warning signs of a relapse
  • In recovery, meditation can improve spirituality and prayer
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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Staying sober requires that we develop skills that further long-term abstinence. While there are many ways to achieve recovery, I would like to discuss Mindfulness as a tool that has been valuable to me and a host of clients I’ve worked with over the last 28 years.

Mindfulness is a concept that talks about the practice of focusing your attention and awareness based on the concept of mindfulness in Buddhist meditation. It has been popularized by Jon Kabat-Zinn. Mindfulness continues to be taught independently of religion.

My sense is that while Mindfulness is a relatively new approach to addiction recovery I have found this concept to have merit. It’s very likely that you’ll find this approach does not conflict with your current program of recovery. I quit using alcohol and drugs over 33 years ago and feel like incorporating the practice of Mindfulness has been very helpful in various parts of my sobriety…..and my life.

While I am certainly not an expert I would like to give you one way to practice mindfulness.

Perhaps you’re at a stage in your recovery where urges, cravings and addictive impulses overwhelm you. Perhaps you feel anxious more than you’d like, or perhaps you’d simply like to add another tool to your toolbox. I sense this method might be helpful to you. I like to explain Mindfulness by way of the acronym S.O.B.E.R:

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

May Peace Prevail on Earth Buddhist Meditation GardensWhen we think of meditation in relation to the Twelve Steps, we often think of the Eleventh Step. However, I have found that my meditation practice has much to do with my Tenth Step. Step ten encourages us to continue to take personal inventory. People do this in a number of ways: writing, talking to a sponsor every night, or by honest self-reflection.

I have found that meditation is crucial for me in my personal inventory. As I meditate sometime during the day, I try to be mindful of whatever is arising. When I feel a tension in my body, I look for the cause of it. It often is anxiety, fear, or worry about the future. My meditation practice has helped me become more in touch with my body, allowing me to use it as a barometer of where my mind is.

Furthermore, when an emotion arises, I am able to deeply touch the root of this emotion. Rather than run from my feelings or wonder why I am feeling a certain way, meditation has allowed me to meet my emotions head on. I am not perfect with this, nor am I able to do it every time I sit. In general, my meditation practice has allowed me to greatly increase my awareness of what is going on within, of taking an inventory.

As emotions arise, I try to take an objective look at them (as difficult as this may be). When I investigate my emotions, I often find that they are dependent upon my karma, my actions. When I don't make my bed, don't call someone back, or tell a small white lie, I often feel slightly off. Before I began meditating, I did not truly notice how these actions affected me. I may have understood the effects intellectually, but had not truly experienced them. Similarly, I notice the way I feel when I act wisely and wholesomely during my day.

Meditation has been a crucial tool in my recovery. I recognize everybody works the steps in his or her own way, but I do share from my experience that meditation is a great way to check in with ourselves.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

The Second Step of Alcoholics Anonymous states, "Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." The principle behind Step Two is hope. The 2nd Step is also closely related to the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, especially the Third Noble Truth.

Step Two and Hope

In Step One, we admit powerlessness over drugs and alcohol. We concede to our innermost selves that we are addicts, and practice rigorous self-honesty. In Step Two, we essentially do the opposite. We are offered hope for a seemingly hopeless state. The phrase, "Came to believe" tells us that our faith does not always happen instantly. It takes time. We slowly open our minds and hearts to see what the Twelve Steps have to offer us. As we know we are powerless over things and our lives are unmanageable, we are being offered a way to live a life manageable by a power greater than ourselves.

Step Two not only gives us hope in terms of a power greater than ourselves. In the Second Step, we are offered hope in a more general sense. We feel quite hopeless and as if there is nothing that will help us. Step Two is the door that once we begin to open, we are presented with a beautiful path of work toward a joyous and free life.

Step Two and the Third Noble Truth

In the First Step, we have our limits brought to light, and are practicing Right View. We recognize the first two Noble Truths of suffering and the causes of our suffering, which are our addiction and own powerlessness. In Step Two, we are presented with the reality of the Third Noble Truth: that the cessation of this suffering is possible. Just as the Second Step is beginning to open the door to the rest of the steps, the Third Noble Truth leads us into the Fourth Noble Truth of the Noble Eightfold Path.

The Third Noble Truth teaches us that ending suffering is indeed possible. Once we have learned to understand our suffering and see it clearly, we have the potential to eradicate it completely. The Third Noble Truth, like Step Two, is of hope. The possibility to progress and leave behind the suffering is a reality for each and every one of us.

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