Meditation as a Part of Effective Relapse Prevention Strategies
Addiction is known to be a treatable disease, but it is also known to be a relapsing mental disorder. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association compared the relapse rates of addicts to diabetes patients: a relapse rate of roughly 40 to 60 percent in the first year of recovery. Utilizing every skill possible to prevent relapse is of the utmost importance. Meditation is an excellent part of the relapse prevention strategies that don’t require you to do anything but sit in quiet contemplation.
In this article, we will discuss the use of mindfulness meditation for relapse prevention.
The Goal of Meditation for Relapse Prevention
On the back of several studies, meditation as a part of relapse prevention strategies has shown that it can help to prevent a recovering person from relapsing. It achieves this due to what it teaches the person: that stress is a normal part of life and it is manageable through mindfulness and meditation without the need for any substance abuse.
Many addicts form their addictions through the self-medication of stress by using drugs and alcohol. It may provide relief in the short-term, but as the abuse continues, addiction forms and problems multiply instead of simplifying.
Suffering and stress is a normal part of life. The cycle of addiction is often one where negative emotions spur on the substance abuse, which in turn causes more negative emotions and situations. While it may be overwhelming when a person lacks proper coping skills, pain and suffering is something that can be embraced in order to overcome it. In teaching addicts to embrace their suffering and then learn from it, they are also freed from it. Suffering and stress then becomes a part of the person overall experience, and embracing this aspect of pain allows a person to be able to let go of it and move on having learned and experienced what they needed to in order to grow as a person.
How Mindfulness Meditation for Relapse Prevention Works
Meditation is about taking time away from the stressors of the world and turning within for peace of mind, usually by clearing one’s mind completely. In mindfulness meditation, a person focuses on all of their experience, good and bad, without any judgment instead of clearing their mind.
During such a meditation, the practitioner is asked not to separate one negative experience from the next. Each negative thought should be treated as equal. Thoughts should be allowed to enter but not be forced out. Mindfulness as a relapse prevention strategies requires that the person acknowledge the experience and how uncomfortable it makes them feel, but it does not require the person to try and fix it then and there.
The more this type of meditation is practiced as part of the relapse prevention strategies used, the easier it will become to see the end to the person’s problems. The more the feelings of pain or suffering come and go, the more the person becomes aware that there is an end to the painful experience. Patience is learned through this process and a new perspective also begins to emerge, providing the addict with two important qualities for recovery.
When mindfulness meditation is used alongside research-based therapy, some of the best results are achieved in recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.