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Using meditation to overcome addiction and prevent relapse.


By Vernon Hartshorne

Meditating woman at laptop.

Today we’re constantly bombarded with fast fixes, instant access, high-speed Internet, fast food, mobile phones that ping; a constant streams of emails and an ethos of busy-busy, work-work, bang- bang.  And a desire for not only instant coffee but instant gratification: I want what I want, when I want it, and I want it now!  (This comes from child ego state).  People drive to work in a hypnotic state thinking about yesterday and dreaming of tomorrow.

I remember someone saying if you’ve got one foot in the past (my dad said this to me) and one foot in the future (when I retire everything will be okay) you’re pissing on the present. The present is a gift (get it?).  If you live in the past, you could suffer from depression and if you live in the future you might suffer from anxiety.  So how can we learn to live in the here and now in an attempt to create an emotionally balanced life.? Obviously you need to plan for the future because if you turn up at the airport without booking a seat expecting to go on holiday, you’re being foolish.  And if you don’t plan for retirement, you may be sorry.  But you cannot invest your time and emotional energy in worrying about going on holiday or your retirement.  So, for the sake of our psychological wellbeing, we need to keep our emotions in the here and now.

Living in the present moment

Meditation has been used for thousands of years to anchor people in the present moment.  It has been scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety, giving people a better quality of life.  They say ‘medication for the body, meditation for the mind’.  There are many meditation apps on the Internet and YouTube is a good source of spiritual advice from people like Deepak Chopra and Sahd Guru. You’ll also find guided meditations, silent meditation, meditations for sleep, meditations for relaxation and so on.

I can recommend Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now - love this book - where he talks about levitating above your mind and looking down on the inner dialogue, listening to the internal chatter that is usually negative and punishing, and understanding that there’s a higher consciousness to you, if you can see it, then who is the observer?

At Help Me Stop Dayhab we have a group focused on educating our clients of the benefits of meditation with an introduction into meditation practises.  In early recovery we cannot afford to be in a hypnotic state as relapsing into an unconscious state could eventually lead back to a physical relapse - if you are to be spiritually awake then you need to stay awake.

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