While detox, medical supervision and psychological treatment are essential to rehab and recovery, they are not the only effective tools individuals have to help them combat their drug or alcohol addictions. Many therapies complement the more traditional modalities used in rehab to treat substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. Among these alternative treatments are mindfulness and meditation, which are techniques that have been used for centuries to promote wellness in all aspects of individuals lives. These two techniques, while similar, have slightly different emphases but can also work together, helping individuals see new approaches to challenging situations and make better decisions in those moments.

What is mindfulness?

Mindfulness refers to the cultivation of a keener awareness of the feelings, thoughts and experiences individuals have in the moment. When an individual practices mindfulness, they notice but also accept all the observations they make about themselves, and the moment itself, without judgment. This acceptance helps to foster greater compassion for others, self-compassion, inner peace and an attitude of non-reaction which can help people in recovery release their tendencies to take substances when faced with a triggering situation.

As with any practice, it takes time to learn to become mindful and a skilled practitioner of this discipline, but the benefits are worth the effort, especially for those recovering from substance abuse. Mindfulness can be practiced any time a recovering individual needs to reground themselves in the moment and mitigate the fear and anxiety which could spur renewed drug use, and it can be an extremely useful technique to support other techniques learned during rehab, increasing the number of options they have to use to avoid a relapse.

What is meditation?

Meditation has been used to promote healing and well-being for centuries. During meditation, practitioners cultivate a sense of inner calmness by focusing their attention on a particular object or thought. Typically, practitioners of meditation sit in a comfortable, quiet place where they can be undisturbed for a short period of time, although practitioners can also meditate along with others in the same space or even while walking or driving.

The versatility of this wellness practice makes it ideal for those in recovery since they can use the technique to collect themselves anywhere and anytime they face a challenging situation. It is especially important, however — especially for those new to meditation — to set a specific time and place for their growing practice to strengthen their skills and become confident enough to apply the technique when they need it.

While meditation is taught and practiced by several religious traditions, it is not a religious practice, and individuals do not have to have or adopt a particular faith tradition to include meditation in their lives. Meditation does offer spiritual benefits, however, in that people who practice regularly generally feel more calm, centered, connected and joyful as a result of meditation, and they enjoy improved and more satisfying relationships which can enhance all aspects of their lives.

How do mindfulness and meditation therapies work together?

Mindfulness and meditation help individuals increase their awareness of their thoughts and feelings, giving them a greater ability to respond to situations as they arise and more opportunities to make better decisions. By living in the moment rather than clinging to the past or worrying about the future, individuals can release the habits they have long held which have sustained their addiction and the patterns of negative thinking which can be another driver for substance abuse.

What are the benefits of mindfulness and meditation therapies during rehab?

Individuals diagnosed with one or more mental health concerns can derive many benefits from mindfulness and meditation therapies. Conditions which can be treated with these holistic therapies include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Mindfulness and meditation have a wide-ranging number of benefits which include:

  • Better focus
  • More satisfying relationships
  • Increased life satisfaction
  • Improved memory
  • Better digestion
  • A stronger immune system
  • Sounder sleep
  • Greater self-awareness
  • Gains in creativity
  • Lower blood pressure

Are mindfulness and meditation therapies effective in substance abuse treatment?

Mindfulness and meditation therapies are highly-effective because they give individuals in recovery ways to avoid compulsive behaviors that can lead to relapse. Scientific evidence supports the benefits of these treatments. One study, for example, published in the journal Substance Abuse in 2009, shows that individuals who had mindfulness treatment exhibited a decreased incidence of substance use compared to individuals who had traditional 12 Step treatment. Further, when individuals in the mindfulness group switched to 12 Step treatment, their incidence of substance use increased. While studies are still on-going, there is significant scientific and anecdotal evidence to support the benefits of mindfulness and meditation treatment for clients alongside traditional treatment formats.

The Value of Having Mindfulness and Meditation Therapies at Bayview Recovery

Mindfulness and meditation therapy have helped innumerable people build a deeper awareness of themselves and their place in the world as well as help them attain greater peace and inner healing. Both these pathways can produce outstanding results when paired with medical and psychological treatment as part of a broader and more comprehensive drug treatment program. These practices give clients a way to see alternative ways of responding to different situations — especially stressful or triggering scenarios — so that they can avoid using drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Mindfulness and meditation treatment can help those in recovery to:

  • Accept the support of others
  • Increase their self-esteem
  • Release addictive thought patterns
  • See all the possibilities available in the present moment

Also, because mindfulness and meditation practices are highly adaptable, they can help a wide range of individuals and provide support in many different contexts, making them a highly desirable treatment format and one that recovering individuals should seek out when choosing a recovery facility. These holistic pathways coupled with medical and therapeutic treatment can give individuals additional ways to reduce the risk of relapse and stay healthy.

Begin Your Wellness Journey Today at Bayview Recovery

You don’t have to let addiction control your life for another day. Call Bayview Recovery at 888.570.7154 to talk to one of our addiction recovery specialists and get started on a personalized treatment program today. You can break free from addiction with help from Bayview Recovery.