Author Topic: Meditation and addiction treatment  (Read 1494 times)

Charlie00

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Meditation and addiction treatment
« on: July 26, 2016, 05:54:14 AM »
Can we try meditation as a treatment for addiction? My father has been addicted to alcohol for more than 3 years and he is also suffering from health issues as well. So his doctor suggested him to stop drinking, but he couldn't do it by himself. I happened to read that meditation will help us to overcome the withdrawal symptoms and recently I read an article which explains the importance of bringing mindfulness through addiction therapy and meditation. Does anyone here had tried meditation as a part of addiction treatment? Is it a proper treatment method? Kindly share your thoughts. Thank you in advance.

MOD EDIT: LINK REMOVED
« Last Edit: July 26, 2016, 11:31:51 PM by Matthew »

Attachless

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Re: Meditation and addiction treatment
« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2016, 09:18:02 PM »
I don`t advice as a treatment. For me personally, I dropped smoking marihuana, smoking cigarettes, and mostly other intoxicants (especially regularly) as a side-product of daily practice - sitting and constant mindfulness, as it has -as a side-effect - been unveiled as bringing me down more than it does me good (it either made me feel better when I used them before, or I wasn`t aware of what they did to me before meditation).

But then again, meditating to achieve addiction-cure is putting expectations/bondages/requirements on the practice; which seems okay to start off, and may work if naturally dropped later and meditation becoming a natural part of ones being/daily activity/habitual way of living without the act of making it a means to "something" - which will render whole meditation ineffective.

Then, and imo only then, addictions, are also naturally dropped. Naturally, not forcefully, and not forcefully by meditating. I also don`t believe one can meditate addictions away and then stop meditation because one has "cured ones addiction". One will most probably fall back to old habits, because these were old ways of living, and without establishing a new way of living (mindfully, happily, equanimously), one can not sustain an addiction-free (atleast to some extent) life, unless there is good discipline (which could be used for meditation tbh also :-P). But one should not force oneself to not drink (or smoke or whatever). One should naturally drop it by cognizing what it does to oneself and then leave it.

For me, healing addiction is an act of cognition and lastly free will. Meditation can strengthen both, as it strengthens both.

This is all of course from my less well-off perspection and just renders my own experiences and insights for myself.

Another note: going from addiction-living to mindful-living is in some way going from lack of responsible to a responsible life; because we`re no longer disguising and hiding in forms of escapism; and take responsibility for our well being, that may have been balanced prior through external things (drugs, sex, entertainment..). Imo many forms of compulsive and escapist behaviours are a form of addiction, not only drinking. Meditation can help us face the urges to escape ourselves(or whatever really) and get the root of why we`re behaving or drawn to certain things compulsively ("addiction").

My advice, start meditation anyway as a routine, whether it`s treating the addiction / symptoms of withdrawal or not; it`s the very best long-term thing / habit to start with. I would include it in any therapy (other than physical therapies obviously)
to be or not to be - one hardly notices the subtlety

Matthew

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Re: Meditation and addiction treatment
« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2016, 11:38:23 PM »
I know two guys who were street heroin addicts and went cold turkey with a month of Shamatha as their anchor for that journey. Yet they had to stop and stay stopped from their addiction. The mediation helped them deal with it. And that is the truth about addiction: your dad's doctor was right: he'll have to stop drinking and stay stopped to succeed. He could use walking in nature, playing chess, getting laid or meditation or any number of supports, but if he doesn't stop he won't stop.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

Charlie00

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Re: Meditation and addiction treatment
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2016, 12:10:03 PM »
I don`t advice as a treatment. For me personally, I dropped smoking marihuana, smoking cigarettes, and mostly other intoxicants (especially regularly) as a side-product of daily practice - sitting and constant mindfulness, as it has -as a side-effect - been unveiled as bringing me down more than it does me good (it either made me feel better when I used them before, or I wasn`t aware of what they did to me before meditation).

But then again, meditating to achieve addiction-cure is putting expectations/bondages/requirements on the practice; which seems okay to start off, and may work if naturally dropped later and meditation becoming a natural part of ones being/daily activity/habitual way of living without the act of making it a means to "something" - which will render whole meditation ineffective.

Then, and imo only then, addictions, are also naturally dropped. Naturally, not forcefully, and not forcefully by meditating. I also don`t believe one can meditate addictions away and then stop meditation because one has "cured ones addiction". One will most probably fall back to old habits, because these were old ways of living, and without establishing a new way of living (mindfully, happily, equanimously), one can not sustain an addiction-free (atleast to some extent) life, unless there is good discipline (which could be used for meditation tbh also :-P). But one should not force oneself to not drink (or smoke or whatever). One should naturally drop it by cognizing what it does to oneself and then leave it.

For me, healing addiction is an act of cognition and lastly free will. Meditation can strengthen both, as it strengthens both.

This is all of course from my less well-off perspection and just renders my own experiences and insights for myself.

Another note: going from addiction-living to mindful-living is in some way going from lack of responsible to a responsible life; because we`re no longer disguising and hiding in forms of escapism; and take responsibility for our well being, that may have been balanced prior through external things (drugs, sex, entertainment..). Imo many forms of compulsive and escapist behaviours are a form of addiction, not only drinking. Meditation can help us face the urges to escape ourselves(or whatever really) and get the root of why we`re behaving or drawn to certain things compulsively ("addiction").

My advice, start meditation anyway as a routine, whether it`s treating the addiction / symptoms of withdrawal or not; it`s the very best long-term thing / habit to start with. I would include it in any therapy (other than physical therapies obviously)
Hi Attachless,
Thank you for sharing your experience here.

Charlie00

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Re: Meditation and addiction treatment
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2016, 12:16:24 PM »
I know two guys who were street heroin addicts and went cold turkey with a month of Shamatha as their anchor for that journey. Yet they had to stop and stay stopped from their addiction. The mediation helped them deal with it. And that is the truth about addiction: your dad's doctor was right: he'll have to stop drinking and stay stopped to succeed. He could use walking in nature, playing chess, getting laid or meditation or any number of supports, but if he doesn't stop he won't stop.
Hi Matthew,
We decided to get to practice meditation along with the regular treatments. Since my father is not able to handle the withdrawal symptoms, we are planning to seek the help of an addiction treatment center for better help. Actually, I don't know how to insist him to do meditation and he is not the type of guy who can do things by himself. Hoping for the best. Fingers crossed.

MOD EDIT LINK REMOVED
« Last Edit: August 02, 2016, 06:43:07 PM by Matthew »

Frightful

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Re: Meditation and addiction treatment
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2016, 04:08:48 PM »
@Attachless: " Imo many forms of compulsive and escapist behaviours are a form of addiction, not only drinking. Meditation can help us face the urges to escape ourselves(or whatever really) and get the root of why we`re behaving or drawn to certain things compulsively ("addiction")."

I agree with this and further resonate with the general ideas of addiction specialist Gabor Mate in Vancouver, BC.  Mate has been a proponent of the idea of addiction as neuro-emotional self-medication to combat internal emotional pain and emptiness.  In generalized terms, those immersed in addiction typically had emotionally destitute or abusive upbringings.  Healthy self-love in such individuals is severely compromised.  In this light, meditation is a practice of love towards a more healthy self.....perhaps towards a more healthy love of our selves as opposed to self-hatred or self-ambivalence.  And if successful, ..... if meditation does indeed help foster a greater healthy self-love,... then I can see where it would assist in replacing addictive cravings with something more life-affirming.  Mate's best book on the subject, titled from his own Buddhist inclinations, is "In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction".

Matthew

  • The Irreverent Buddhist
  • Staff
  • Meditation: It's a D.I.Y. project.
    • KISS: Keep it simple stupid.
    • Getting nowhere slowly and enjoying every moment.
Re: Meditation and addiction treatment
« Reply #6 on: August 02, 2016, 06:45:44 PM »
Quote from: Charlie00
We decided to get to practice meditation along with the regular treatments. Since my father is not able to handle the withdrawal symptoms, we are planning to seek the help of an addiction treatment center for better help. Actually, I don't know how to insist him to do meditation and he is not the type of guy who can do things by himself. Hoping for the best. Fingers crossed.

MOD EDIT LINK REMOVED

That sounds like a good plan. I wish you success.

Please can you stop linking to the addiction Centre.  Thanks - we are quite strict about links to commercial products/organisations etc.
~oOo~     Tat Tvam Asi     ~oOo~    How will you make the world a better place today?     ~oOo~    Fabricate Nothing     ~oOo~

 

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