We have heard that meditation can have its benefits for many areas in life. Not sleeping well? Meditate. Dealing with depression or anxiety? Meditate. Feeling a cold coming on? Meditate. Although many of us shrug off the practice because it “takes too long” or “doesn’t work for me”, there are measurable statistics and proven trials that show just how well it does help us become better versions of ourselves. In regard to how meditation can be incorporated in one’s recovery, it can be an ideal practice for substance abuse relief and in combating symptoms of withdrawal, triggers, and cravings (Addictioncenter.com). By consciously relaxing the physical body, the mind can follow suit and decompress from all of the trauma it needs to process. Verta Health explains how meditation is used as an “alternative pain management technique” after people go through opioid dependence treatment. Some research has been shown that this practice can “significantly reduce the intensity of pain, lower blood pressure, improve heart health, and even boost the body’s immune system” which is a very detrimental part of the recovery process (VertaHealth). The key takeaway is that the process of recovery highly involves healing the body and the mind.
We see at River Rock Treatment how effective meditation can be even when resistant by participants. Therapists encourage physical engagement while guiding participants through meditation, starting with relaxing the eyes, the jaw and tongue to release all tension in the places we didn’t even know we held tension. It is jaw-dropping (no pun intended) to see the stillness and quietness the physical body had through mindful movement. Other relaxation tactics include closing the eyes, resting your hands face up on your lap, sitting cross-legged or laying down. The way we begin our meditation determines how our journey through practice will be received. If we start in a comfortable state, we will most likely remain and end in a similar way. When group counseling sessions begin with a meditation, astounding feedback from many participants is received, particularly about the noticeable mental and physical changes.
A unique relaxation tactic that River Rock Treatment is proud to provide to participants is an Acudetox and Mindfulness group. In these sessions, a licensed therapist begins with a five-point acupuncture protocol specifically designed for those struggling with substance use issues. Acudetox has been shown to decrease cravings for alcohol and drugs, withdrawal symptoms, relapse episodes, anxiety, insomnia, and agitation. The method behind acupuncture is that needles targeting points on the body stimulate the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS controls the body via chemicals that influence the muscles, brain, and nerves. If there is any imbalance in the CNS, acupuncture can restore balance. Once balance is restored, the therapist will lead a guided meditation for the participants to engage in continued relaxation.
Not only did the clients praise the practice for slowing down their minds and bodies, but we see tremendous outcomes in daily one-on-one sessions. Since meditation is used to slow down our racing thoughts, clients are more often able to think, process, and communicate clearer and more efficiently. After sessions of mediation, we have found an increase in attendance, sharpened focus and more willingness to be engaged in individual sessions.
Finding a meditation practice that works for you is a unique experience and it can take some time to connect with your mind and body. Explore your options and be patient, all good things come in time.
Below are guided meditations specifically targeted toward easing cravings and addiction
We also recommend the How Meditation Conquers Addiction article from EOC Institute.