Much like a yoga practice requiring consistent attention and self-compassion, recovery is exactly that—a practice. It’s an evolving effort toward something that you can never truly master but always find space to grow. Making room for both joy and peace in equal measure is one of the best ways to make continual progress in your recovery practice and avoid becoming burnt out.
Including meditation in your recovery plan is a versatile way to capture those feelings and many others. This unique tool requires dedication to a single goal: to look inward and discover the profound capability already there. So what is meditation, exactly? And how does it overlap so beautifully with addiction recovery?
Meditation & Recovery: Same, but different
While meditation and recovery are vastly different processes, they ask a few similar things of us: to be patient with our bodies and minds, to continue even when it’s frustrating, and to learn to observe our thoughts and feelings without acting on them. Both meditation and recovery mean accepting our past actions (and our future ones too) without judgement so that we can reconcile those things within us and find peace. Maybe that peace is brief, but the practice of reaching for it is the experience we’re after.
Meditation doesn’t ask you to be someone different. It’s not asking you to show up without a past or without a future. Recovery is much the same. And, like meditation, you may find yourself frustrated as you try to exercise a new skill you haven’t accessed before, but no one expects you to get either perfect on the first or thousandth day of practice.
How to begin
It’s easy to get caught up in how long it takes to develop a habit, especially if you’re new to something and want to be able to gauge when it will feel like second nature. Trying to find that answer may just be setting yourself up for failure in meditation or recovery- so try starting from the beginning every day that you show up.
You may choose to listen to a guided meditation, watch a video or remember your time in treatment benefitting from a meditation program like ours. No matter how you begin, remember that your mind will wander, and that’s okay. Let the mind wander as the body relaxes, and you learn to find your center. Celebrate the little successes when you show up for yourself, and in meditation, those successes may truly be little. Setting realistic goals and expectations for yourself is the most empowering tool you can give yourself as you begin a meditation practice.
Benefits of Meditation for Recovery
There are as many benefits to meditation as there are types of meditation. While you’ll be the best expert in what you need from a meditation practice as you begin to narrow down which style may be the right fit for you, there are a few constant benefits when paired with your recovery.
- Improved mental health comes from spending time clearing out the dust and settling into the spaces between them for a fresh perspective.
- Thought awareness will allow you to notice what you think and feel without attaching judgment or obligation to act on them.
- Stronger self-control results from the discipline to return to a practice that isn’t innate to how our world moves and will condition you to respond with patience and persistence to your body and mind.
- Experience more confidence in your thoughts and decisions, as well as your ability to navigate them when they feel overwhelming.
Mantras and Reassurance for your practices
It can be frustrating to try things you aren’t good at or contrary to the habits you’ve cultivated, even when those habits aren’t serving you. You’ve already done the hard work of recognizing that and reaching for healing that will benefit you in undertaking addiction recovery and now considering adding meditation to your daily practice. We’d like to offer a few mantras you can repeat to yourself when the complexity of emotions overwhelms you.
“This is not a waste of time.”
“My efforts are my success, not the end result.”
“I am worth the energy to try.”
“I showed up today and that is good.”
“I cannot force this.”
Each of these mantras represents an essential part of your empowerment in developing these practices alongside one another. Both your recovery and meditation efforts will benefit from taking the time to recognize your capability to continue to show up and put energy into yourself as you are. You do not need to be anyone else or let go of any of the core parts of you to succeed in connecting body to mind to move toward a harmonious future of healing. You are already something wonderful: you are yourself, and that’s a perfectly precise thing to be.