The main aim of meditation is to enable the person practicing it to calm down their mind, body, and feel what arises from within. This provides a way to connect with the self. For a person with a drinking problem, this can seem difficult. That’s because such people use alcohol to numb their challenging feelings. They drink to escape what is happening in their body, mind, and the surrounding. But instead of drinking, a person can choose a practice that enables them to observe their feelings and thoughts without necessarily reacting to them. Meditation is a practice that helps a person do that and even learn how to avoid being caught up in feelings and thoughts.
Addiction to alcohol or alcoholism is a disease characterized by a physical allergy. This allergy is what triggers cravings or the desire to drink. It’s also characterized by a mental obsession that makes it hard for an addict to resist the urge to drink. Alcoholism is also characterized by a spiritual malady that includes the feelings of discontent and disconnectedness.
Meditation teaches a person to avoid reacting to dispiriting cravings and thoughts. When you meditate as a way to stop drinking, you learn that you have choices. That means you can choose to be in the present moment even when you acknowledge the physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts that trigger a maladjusted behavior like drinking. Meditation teaches you that self-acceptance and letting go are possible.
Alcoholism and Control
For a person that is hooked to any addictive substance like alcohol, addiction lures them into thinking they are still in control. They feel like they can still function better even after using the addictive substance. However, this is not reality. A person that is addicted to something like alcohol is a slave to the cravings associated with it. Their focus is always on getting and using the addictive substance. As such, addiction compromises their overall well-being while adding to the discomfort they were trying to escape by using the addictive substance.
After drinking excessively and for a long time, a person loses control to a level where they can’t do anything without alcohol in their body system. Unfortunately, they are caught up in denial and they don’t take advice even from people that clearly see its negative effects on them. To overcome alcohol addiction and regain control, a person has to decide to recover fully instead of seeking the temporary relief they think alcohol provides. Home detox is possible for some people. However, most alcoholics need an inpatient facility with fellow addicts and professionals to provide support and medical help when necessary.
How Meditation can help a Drinker
Excessive drinking for an extended time makes a person disconnected from their real selves. They don’t pay attention to their true feelings. Meditation provides an effective way to unpack this while acting as a calming and relaxing practice that reduces the feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety.
This practice enables a drinker to pay keen attention to alcohol cravings. It makes an alcoholic see their action as an outsider thereby making stopping them easier. For instance, meditating can help you notice that even the sight of your favorite cocktail glass prompts you to drink. Boredom and anxiety could also be your triggers. When you know your triggers, quitting drinking becomes easier.
Meditation can also help you stop pairing drinking with stress relief. That way, the urge to drink whenever you are faced with stressful situations can reduce or disappear. What’s more, meditation can enable you to tolerate uncomfortable sensations and feelings, some of which can arise through meditation. When you meditate, you work through the sensations and learn how to cope with them by breathing and focusing on the present moment. This allows you to cope better with different situations including those from your external life.
One of the documented benefits of meditation is sleep improvement. When you meditate, you enjoy quality sleep. Your blood pressure, pain, and anxiety reduction. When you sleep better, you stop waking up at night when you might be tempted to drink. You also avoid mood swings in the morning which can prompt you to drink.
Life is largely about relationships. Addiction is also about a person’s connection with alcohol. One of the reasons why a person may want to quit drinking is to re-establish connections with loved ones. Excessive alcohol consumption and addiction tend to strain or ruin relationships with loved ones. It also ruins the relationship that a person has with self. Relationships are based on understanding and connection. Your body, mind, and soul have a close relationship. Meditation provides a way to weave the body, mind, and soul together. This is very important when it comes to recovering from alcohol addiction.
Many people seek treatment for alcoholism with the aim of getting sober. Unfortunately, the fact that they are still riddled with emotional imbalances and physical maladies makes recovery hard for them. One of the major steps to quit drinking and end addiction is addressing these emotional imbalances and physical maladies. Meditation provides a way to address them by opening up the body and the mind while enlivening places that alcoholism kills. It also provides refuge and relief from the feeling of being a prisoner in addictive thoughts.
A new study published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology revealed that engaging in mindfulness training for 11 minutes only can help a heavy drinker reduce their alcohol consumption. Practicing mindfulness or meditating entails focusing on what is happening presently. This makes it more effective because it encourages a person to acknowledge and intentionally respond to cravings. This is different from other strategies for dealing with addiction because they focus on reducing or ignoring cravings.
The Bottom Line
You’ve probably read about different ways to stop drinking alcohol over the internet. However, meditation presents a different approach. Ideally, you can meditate as a way to stop or reduce alcohol consumption without committing a lot of money, time, and effort. It’s also something you can do informally. Today, their mindfulness-based recovery programs for helping people quit addictive behaviors, engage in mindful eating, and avoid relapse. These work as mindfulness-based therapies that enable addicted individuals to tolerate and even work with their undesirable emotions, thoughts, and physical sensations.