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Does Meditation Help Stop Drinking Booze?

Woman in black spaghetti strap top meditating.

If you are looking into meditation for its multiple health benefits, you may be in luck. Meditation is known to help calm the mind and to keep you present. Through meditation, people can find a sense of meaning, a way to cope with stress and anxiety, and a way to cope with everyday life.

If you are struggling with stopping a drinking habit or an addiction, meditation may help in the recovery process. While it will not be the only thing that kicks your drinking problem to the curb, it can make the process easier.

Can meditation help you stop drinking?

Young man refuses to beer.

According to Time magazine, a research study by the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology found that meditation can help heavy drinkers end their addiction. In the study, people meditated for 10 to 20 minutes (11 minutes on average) and were able to cut back on drinking throughout the week. This method helped them control their drinking habits.

However, it did not cut it completely. When practicing meditation and mindfulness, you are focusing on only the present moment. Instead of focusing on reducing cravings or ignoring them, by mediating, you are facing the cravings head-on.

You can understand what you are feeling in the present, acknowledge the cravings, and react to them with intention. This intention will be not to give in, as your body does not need alcohol, it is only craving it. The main teachings of meditation are to understand your emotions and feelings about how they are and respond to situations with an understanding of what is needed in the present.

Instead of trying to ignore your feelings, you are facing them head-on and moving on from them. You are finding what you truly need in life, finding deeper meaning, and moving past any cravings or unneeded substances.

Can you train your mind to stop drinking?

Young woman sitting in lotus yoga pose and doing meditation at home.

There are other ways to train your mind outside of meditation. This may be conducting cognitive techniques with your psychologist or therapist by training your brain to avoid alcohol and associating it with negative cues rather than positive ones. This type of brain training is known as “cognitive bias modification.”

It has a low relapse rate and is proven to work. While it is not a mindful meditation technique, it is a technique that almost rewires your subconscious. A mindful meditation, in turn, will reevaluate your conscious mind by bringing all emotions and cravings to the forefront of your mind.

Can meditation solve any other substance addiction?

Man meditating at sunrise.

Meditation can also help other substance-abuse addictions. If someone is having issues with daily living activities and cravings, they can learn how to use meditation in moments of stress and anxiety. When knowing how to meditate, people can learn how to be in the present and focus only on their breath.

Meditation is available to everyone as it requires no tools or recourse. It is a holistic treatment that can help avert cravings and control emotions. It can reinforce your behavior by changing your perspective and creating intentions in life.

What type of meditation is best for addiction?

Concentrated man practicing meditation.

Many different types of meditation can be used for addiction. Each one is slightly different from the other and it depends on the person as to which one is preferable. Each person is different, so it all depends on the individual and what helps them best.

These different meditations for addictions could be:

1. Mindfulness meditation.

Mindfulness meditation comes from Buddhist teachings where you focus on your thoughts and how they flow. You become aware of patterns, sensations, and the way you breathe, becoming more focused on the present. In this sense, you can battle addiction by understanding how you think and rerouting your thinking.

2. Focused meditation.

A focused meditation concentrates on your five senses. This means focusing on smell, taste, sight, touch, and listening to what is around you. When using the five senses, you are focusing on what is directly in front of you and around you.

When using it in addiction recovery, you can ground yourself in the present and release any cravings you may be feeling.

3. Movement meditation.

Movement meditation is most popular in yoga, where you are focused on your body and your breath. However, this can be practiced when walking, or even in calming activities like gardening. Movement meditation can aid in addiction recovery because you can move your body and take your focus somewhere else.

Instead of focusing on cravings, you are active and replenishing your body through movement.

4. Progressive relaxation.

A progressive relaxation is a form of meditation that focuses on relaxing each part of the body until you are completely calm. You simply focus on certain parts of the body and how your breath calms your body. When you are in addiction recovery, you may notice different parts of your body are affected.

During this type of meditation, you will be able to focus on these parts of your body and relax. In this sense, you are freeing your body of any stress or pain that may be the result of your recovery.

5. Loving-kindness meditation.

During a loving-kindness meditation, people focus on how they receive love from people. This means focusing on opening your heart and mind to accept other people and how they show love to you. When using this meditation, you can reroute your thinking from your cravings and to the people around you.

You can understand your presence and how to serve your community. When you accept love from people around you, you can create a deeper meaning in life and create intention. Through intention, you can focus on the bigger picture of life and leave your addiction behind.

6. Visualization meditation.

Visualization meditation is when you focus on calming pictures of nature and landscapes. Your mind is focused on the setting and reaching the present by looking at what is directly in front of you. Visualization meditation is a great tool to teach you how to stay present.

If you are worried about cravings or what emotions you are feeling, you can focus on the visuals and escape your mind from stress, depression, or worry. You can become present and find intention.

7. Transcendental Meditation.

Transcendental Meditation was popularized in the 1950s and uses wordless noise as a point of focus rather than breath, words, or visuals. Transcendental Meditation teaches your mind how to be present and changes your focus to your atmosphere, finding inner peace. This meditation technique can aid in addiction recovery as it reroutes your thinking directly to the present by focusing on a mantra instead of your thoughts.

Can meditation help during withdrawal symptoms?

Alcoholic female covered with blanket suffering withrawal symptoms.

In some cases of recovery, you may find yourself having a difficult time with withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms may include anxiety, insomnia, or depression. Meditation can ground you during these times and calm your nervous system.

This will allow you to sleep and rest your mind. Meditation will also elevate your mood, making recovery possible and easier. Meditation will control any impulses and mood interferences as you learn to focus on the present and continue.

Can meditation lower the risk of relapse?

Poor boy having a relapse.

Meditation has also been found to lower the risk of relapse due to its ability to keep you present. It can control your urges and reduce the risk of relapse from drug, alcohol, and Nicotine addiction.