Sober Meditations: How Meditation Can Help You Fulfill Your Steps
Maybe you go to meetings, even regularly attend. You might be there two or three times a week. You might have a sponsor and remain in contact with them. You are working the program. But, there are always other little things that you can work into your 12 step practice to make it stronger.
One great addition to a 12 step program is meditation. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports: “A national survey in 2008 found that the number of people meditating is increasing, with approximately 10 percent of the population having some experience with meditation.”
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH): “Meditation is a mind and body practice that has a long history of use for increasing calmness and physical relaxation, improving psychological balance, coping with illness, and enhancing overall health and well-being. Mind and body practices focus on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior.”
If you are interested in learning more about what this means and how it could add to the benefits of a 12 step program, contact12Step.com at 800-895-1695.
The NCCIH breaks down the four comments elements of meditation as such:
- A quiet location with as few distractions as possible
- A specific comfortable posture: sitting, lying, down, walking, or others
- A focus of attention: a specially chosen word or set of words, an object, or the sensations of the breath
- An open attitude: let distractions come and go without judging them
Beyond these four essentials, programs vary in several ways. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality includes the following:
- The emphasis on religion or spirituality
- The type of mental activity promoted
- The nature and amount of training
- The use of an instructor
- The qualifications of an instructor
These may all affect the level and nature of the meditative skills learned.
When looking into meditation, you will see the terms “mindfulness,” “concentration,” and “automatic self-transcendence.”
For example, transcendental meditation (TM) emphasizes “the use of a mantra in such a way that one “transcends” to an effortless state where there is no focused attention.” Techniques like mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), are classified as “mindfulness” and emphasize training in present-focused awareness.
The NCCIH reports: “Meditation can take a variety of forms: mantra meditation, relaxation response, mindfulness meditation, Transcendental Meditation, and Zen Buddhist meditation, among others. Yoga and Tai chi also incorporate meditative components. Meditation practices are often rooted in spiritual practices, but many people practice meditation outside of a religious context. The 2007 National Health Interview Survey revealed that some 20 million U.S. adults use meditation for health purposes.”
Meditation and the 12 Steps
Mindfulness is often brought up in the context of both meditation and the 12 step model. For people working a 12 step program, remaining self-aware is crucial. You need that awareness to even take step one and admit that you have a problem.
Honesty is also critical and mindfulness actually enables you to be more rigorously honest in your dealing with yourself and others because you are present and alert, rather than being bogged down by baggage.
Over time, meditation is said to re-write the brain, breaking down incorrect beliefs about the self and knee-jerk reactions. The patterns, the habits that kept you pursuing your addiction are easier to control with your newly balanced outlook.
Meditation will begin the way that the 12 steps did. You will be very aware of each new step and very careful to follow instructions. After a period of time, the practice will begin to feel automatic. Eventually, you will feel less like you are working meditation and more like it is working you. That is how mindful you will be.
If you are ready to make the most of the 12 steps, contact 12Step.com at 800-895-1695 and speak with someone today.