As individuals, we aren’t determined by what we do occasionally. Our life is determined by our repeated habits. That’s why, if we want to develop into our perfect self, breaking bad habits is essential.
Meditation can play a major part in breaking out of bad cycles and crushing those bad habits. If you want to quit drinking, and give up any other bad habits at the same time, meditation can be very helpful.
How meditation can help with alcoholism
- Calms the emotions
- Improved motivation and clarity.
- Less focused on past and future worries
- Feeling of self-acceptance and peace
- Reduction in anxiety and depression
- Improved resilience
Is meditation easy?
Meditation can bring about change within just a few weeks with regular sessions each day. You’ll need to trust that this form of therapy will actually work for you and remain consistent. Those that practice meditation on and off, with missed days are unlikely to have the same success as a regular meditator. Aim for 5-10 minutes per session to start with and, over time, try to work up to 30 minutes if you can spare the time.
A tip to help break bad habits
Before you begin meditating perform this simple exercise which will allow you to focus on what you want to get out of quitting drinking.
- Jot down 5 negative side effects of continuing to drink alcohol
- Jot down 5 positive changes that will result from quitting drinking
Finally, ask yourself what is the main emotion behind your drive to stop this habit. Make sure it is positive. Decide to break your bad habit from a position of personal strength and confidence, not from a perspective of failure, guilt or shame.
The basics of meditation
The first 6 days of meditation
Let’s start by saying that meditation doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Just relax and don’t worry about any complicated seating positions like the lotus to start with. It isn’t necessary to get positive gains.
You need to set aside some to do this meditation every day where you won’t be interrupted, whether it is 5 minutes or 30 minutes in duration.
We start with a simple breathing exercise. Sit yourself on the ground or in a chair with your back straight. It is best not to lie down as you’ll be tempted to sleep.
It is normal for your mind to wonder as you first start out in meditation. It gets easier after a couple of week though so keep at it.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Stay focused on your breathing but if a thought does come into your mind, don’t get frustrated. Simply allow it without putting any thought into it, then let it go. Breath in deeply and then out deeply taking care to remove all negative energy from your body.
Continue to pay attention to your breathing and the expansion of your belly. Allow yourself to be present without worrying about the past or the future. There is only now – no thoughts.
As you relax, your breathing will become slower and easier. Now just sit in silence, relax, and just be. Don’t dwell on any thoughts and simply enjoy the peace and loosen all the muscles in your body.
Finally, slowly open your eyes and stretch your body. That’s it, easy.
Today, you’ll do another breathing exercise, this time counting your breaths. Find a comfortable spot and assume your seated meditation position. Close your eyes and take in a breath counting to 5. Then breathe out counting to 8. Next breath in counting to 5. You see the pattern? In for 5 seconds, out for 8 seconds. Easy.
Repeat this breathing pattern for as at least 5 minutes. If you can do this for 30 minutes all the better!
This exercise will help you feel relaxed and calm.
Today’s exercise will help you to fall asleep. For alcoholics, sleep is often a dreaded time, especially in the early days of giving up alcohol. It certainly doesn’t come easily as we churn over hundreds of thought, regrets and fears. Meditation will greatly help you dose off without all the stressful tossing and turning beforehand.
Lie down on your bed with eyes closed and allow yourself to spend a few minutes thinking about your day. The good and bad points, and how they made you feel.
Now with three large breaths, you will let go of your day. Release all your thoughts to allow you to feel more peaceful and ready for sleep. When you breathe out, imagine all your thoughts leaving your body.
Focus on your feet and tense them lightly for a few seconds. Then relax them and allow them to feel heavy and relaxed.
Move up to your legs and focus on the physical sensation of how they feel, gently tighten them for a couple of seconds. Now let go allowing them to be completely relaxed. Feel how soft your bed feels and try to picture yourself lying of a floating cloud.
Continue to move up your body, tensing that body part for a few seconds, then completely relaxing them.
After you have relaxed every body part, notice how relaxed your body is. Now continue to imagine you’re lying on a cloud and slowly sinking into it. As you sink further down, you are falling into a deeper sleep. Continue to imagine you’re in this cloud and allow your body to remain relaxed and without any thoughts.
Your body should now be very relaxed and open to the idea of falling asleep. Sleep well.
Today we’ll look at mindfulness which is all about being aware of the current moment without any worries for the past or future.
Find a comfortable seated posture and slowly take 3 deep breaths.
Now return to your normal breathing pattern and be in the moment. Focus on your breathing and how your belly expands and contracts. Feel the warmth and coolness of the air as you breathe out and in.
Pay attention to the sounds around you. Notice any other sensation such as air in the room or your clothing touching you. Is there any pain in your body? You don’t want to analyze anything, just observe then let go. If you find yourself analyzing, simply let it go and don’t worry about it.
Put all your focus on the current breath you’re taking. All your focus should be on the current moment – not the past or future. Continue this breathing and focus for 5-30 minutes then slowly open your eyes as you finish your session.
This is your 5th day of meditation. You’re possibly starting to feel more comfortable with your meditating and learning to focus on the current moment, not the past and future.
Today, as you meditate, focus on gratitude. As an alcoholic, we have many regrets; however, there are also aspects of our life to be thankful for. Focus on family or friend that you can be thankful for. Be thankful for being alive, even if you do have certain health issues. Be thankful for living in a country that gives you the freedom to restart your life and make it whatever you want it to be. Be thankful that you didn’t drink today. There is much to be thankful for.
This is an important part of your meditation and should be repeated often so that you don’t forget the good things in life.
Today you’ll focus on healing your solar plexus chakra which is associated with willpower and self-esteem. An underactive solar plexus can make you feel less confident and less connected to your will power. An over active solar plexus can make you unpredictable with mood swings.
Find a comfortable position and begin breathing deeply. As you breath out, release all the worries and thoughts, leaving your mind empty.
Now return to your normal breathing and begin to focus on your solar plexus. You need to heal it and breathe light into it. As you breathe in, direct the energy to this area of your body. As you breathe out, remove some of the darkness from this area. Visualize the dark leaving your body and the light filling your body. Your solar plexus is slowly getting lighter, a beaming source of energy.
Get rid of the negativity that is holding you back and, possibly causing your drinking. Continue breathing in positivity and breathing out negativity for 30 minutes.
Meditation can help recovering alcoholics give up alcohol permanently. As your meditation develops, you will feel more at peace and those negative thoughts that plague your mind will begin to disappear.
Although I have run you through 6 days of meditation in this article, I strongly urge you to continue meditating every day and explore further meditation courses or local groups. It will expand your knowledge of meditation as well as offer you positive social interactions without any alcohol involved. If possible, meditate several times a day – even if it’s only for 5 minutes, it all helps. Namaste.