How to Use Yoga and Meditation to Help Beat Your Addiction
The disease of addiction can leave a person broken mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It can destroy everything worthwhile in life. It can strain relationships and cause mass amounts of stress, financial turmoil, and depression. All of this can be exacerbated in early recovery, when a go-to external pleasure is no longer there as an escape.
To pull one’s self out of depression and despair something must take the place of drugs and alcohol (or whatever your addiction might be). For a long time you may have been using external pleasure to fill a void inside, but now it is time to grow and find peace. There are many theories, treatments, and programs to help one grow in recovery and many of these have a few things in common. Almost all programs of recovery involve some form of spiritual growth, whether it be meditation and presence awareness, to full blown religious affiliations or faith. It is believed that one must grow emotionally and spirituality to be happy in recovery and beat their addictions once and for all.
Yoga and meditation have been getting the spotlight lately for playing a crucial role in many people’s recovery. It is being incorporated into addiction treatment centers around the world and it is gaining momentum. Yoga and meditation combined can help heal a person mentally, spiritually, and emotionally as well as physically. They both promote an important life skill necessary for a happy recovery from addiction: mind/body awareness.
Often those in recovery face remorse for past events or stress about the future. Normally in these situations a person may be eager to find an escape (addiction of choice). Learning to be present in the moment can bring peace of mind, joy from living in the moment, and stop racing thoughts. Both of these practices have been used for thousands of years for many reasons, and the scientific community is beginning to take notice of their positive and measurable effects.
Positive Effects of Yoga and Meditation
Tommy Rosen, a yoga instructor and addiction recovery expert, reported to Huffington Post that “I do not feel that yoga and meditation are optional for people in recovery,” and he also said that “one will have to adopt a practice that continues the detoxification process on a much deeper level.”
Many people who abuse drugs or alcohol for a long period of time face some degree of post acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS. This is a condition characterized by psychological withdrawal symptoms that can last months or years after one detoxes from a substance. This can include anxiety, depression, lack of concentration, and insomnia. Yoga and meditation have been proven to reduce or eliminate all of these symptoms.
Yoga and meditation combined can increase one’s attention span and reduce chronic anxiety. Exercise is also a great way to combat insomnia and restlessness as well as increase energy throughout the day. Present moment awareness, a key aspect of both meditation and yoga, has been proven to reduce depression and problems concentrating.
Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic whose been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources and addiction awareness. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.