There is little talk in traditional 12-step recovery groups about the practice of meditation. There is little conversation in these groups about the benefits or the reasons for meditation. Today there are special groups of 12-step recovery members who are forming alternative groups with interests that include meditation practices, but they are not as widespread as the bulk of the recovery meetings. It is important that these concepts become more widely available to recovery members who are not able to access these groups.
Long-term abstinence is difficult to achieve when recovering addicts do not know what emotional process they are in. Daily, all cultures, around the world, are faced with the stresses of life. These can range from driving in traffic, difficulty in relationships at home and at work, illness (either personal or familial, or both), birth, death, marriage, divorce, the list goes on and on. Navigating these turbulent waters is a balancing act for everyone. Recovering addicts do not have all of the emotional stability that is required for dealing with these stressors without a great deal of help. While it is important for them to maintain their involvement in 12-step support groups, working with sponsors and other 12-step advisers and friends, maintaining a spiritual connection is tough when you are not aware of how you are feeling about any and all of this activity and its inherent stressors. Meditation can be the safe haven for most addicts when they walk through the fear that bars them entrance into the quietude and serenity that is found within them.
This is the seat of all of the wisdom and answers that anyone needs to access. But it is a task that is intimidating when most of us just want to “check out.” Long after the drugs and alcohol are gone, there is still our addiction to “doing” instead of “being.” This is easily recognized in our cultural addictions to social media, television, cell phones, gambling, eating, spending, shopping, gossiping, reality TV shows, sex, and every form of escape man has created.
So, the challenge is to find a space and time, no matter how “busy” we are to check into the only resource we have for true knowledge and guidance. After the chatter has died down, we will access our real source of inner “knowing.” This is an important part of the recovery process. It will guide us to know our own feelings and when something is either right or wrong for us at this time. We are past masters at self-deception. This is the best and easiest way to find the answers we seek for setting our own course.
Kelly McClanahan has an MSW in clinical social work, with a specialization in substance abuse treatment. Having worked in this field for over 20 years, she is currently working on her certification as an addictions’ counselor.