If someone had told me five years ago that mindfulness and meditation were the answers to all my problems, I probably would have laughed in their face. What kind of spiritual mumbo jumbo is that?
Well, fast forward to today and I’m here to tell you that meditation was absolutely what my life was missing. You see, the reason why I turned to drugs and alcohol in the first place was because my mind was weak. I was wrecked with anxiety and getting high was the only cure I had.
If only I knew then what I know now.
Meditation provides a similar mind-altering relief – but this is the healthy kind.
Let me explain. Here are 5 reasons why meditation helped my recovery.
- I became more grounded
When I was getting high, and even before, I was always worrying about the most ridiculous things. I was also worried about some serious things. I was worried about everything, really. But meditation helped me get grounded in reality.
When I took up the practice of mediation, I became more connected with what really matters. In my darkest moments, I was able to sit and listen to my heart beat. I felt my breath and I realized that I was still alive. It sounds like a silly and obvious realization, but it was also the realization that whatever was crumbling around me didn’t matter as much as I thought. I was still breathing.
- My patience improved
Meditation helped me become more patient with others and with myself. One of the reasons why I was so impatient before (I now realize) was that my mind was always racing to the next thing. I’d get frustrated when the checkout line was taking longer than usual because I had better places to be (even if I really didn’t).
After meditation became a part of my life, I realized the importance of patience. Just as there’s no reason to get impatient with others, you should have patience with yourself. Change takes time, but meditation helped me realize that I’m okay where I am. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to change –eventually you’ll get out of the checkout line too—but it’s okay to be wherever you are in the moment.
- Meditation helped me deal with past demons
We all have demons, but some of us let them come haunting more than others. I was one of those people who lived in a haunted house of past demons. They were always on my mind and driving my actions. And that’s what led me to addiction in the first place.
Meditation helps you overcome your past by living in the present. You see, the more I focused on my past, the more I wanted to dwell on it. The misery was intoxicating.
Whatever direction you go, you’ll build momentum. If you let yourself dwell on past hurts, you’ll get better at it and keep going. Fortunately, the same holds true in reverse. If you practice living in the moment, you’ll get better at it and naturally keep doing it.
- I started sleeping better
This was a completely unexpected change that came about when I started meditating, but I actually started sleeping better than I ever have before.
In my days of using, my anxiety levels were through the roof at night. It’s the reason I was often up until 5 a.m. I just couldn’t sleep.
I don’t know exactly when it happened, but one day I realized that I was finally getting to sleep at a reasonable time. And, even better, sleeping through the night. I felt like a completely different person.
- I’ve had better relationships
I’ve already mentioned how meditation helped improve my patience. That’s one reason my relationships improved, but it’s not the only one. Through meditation, I also learned to pause and empathize with others. When you become more grounded, compassion increases exponentially. You realize that you’re just one part of an entirely connected whole. It’s that shift in perspective that really changes things for the better.
I can go on for days about how meditation helped me through recovery, but this is something you need to experience to believe. If you’re in addiction treatment now, I highly recommended meditating daily. You need to be strong to fight these demons and meditation can help strengthen your mind.
But even if you’re not in recovery, I recommend trying meditation. We all have problems and stressors. Meditation can help you remember what’s truly important in life.