Sober living programs often comprise elements of faith and discipline. Depending on the environment you are living in, this can take on a religious connotation or one that is purely spiritual. While meditation in itself is not necessarily a religious or faith-based practice, it is a practice that is used to increase clarity of focus and empower self-reflection. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of sober meditation and provide a few tips to help ensure a successful practice.
The Benefits of Meditation in Sober Living Programs
Many people who practice meditation on a regular basis find that it helps them to calm their mind, deal with stressful situations, and stay on track with their sobriety goals. While it seems like a simple enough concept, it does take some practice. If at first you don’t succeed, just realize that it may take time to master. As for many things that you have to work for, the rewards can be great. Sobriety meditation can have a positive effect on almost every phase of your life.
Some of the benefits of meditation in conjunction with sober living programs include:
- Better ability to focus
- Clearer, more organized thinking
- Coping mechanism in times of great stress
- A safe place to “go” when you feel vulnerable or at risk
Find a Sober Meditation Practice that Works for You
As with many new techniques you will learn, meditation is something that will evolve and grow along with you. There is no timetable for learning meditation, and everybody learns at their own pace. For the many people who practice meditation as part of their sobriety, there are as many philosophies on how to apply it.
For some, meditation means finding a quiet place, getting into a deep state of relaxation and clearing the mind of negative thoughts. Seems simple enough, right? In reality, even the most dedicated practitioners face the challenge of keeping their mind from wandering.
When you are first starting out with sober meditation, you should think of your practice as any activity that focuses your mind on one thing. This does not require you to be cross-legged on the floor listening to ‘Whale Song’–doing the dishes could be meditative, as could walking in nature. Painting, ironing, writing in your journal, building something—these are all meditative activities. They all require you to be completely focused on the task at hand. You might have already noticed that any one of these things helps to create a calm within you. That is the true gift of meditation.
Walking, Breathing and Mindful Moments
Once you can master the act of being able to focus on that one thing, no matter what it is, your meditative practice can evolve. Try this:
A Walking Meditation Example
- As you take your daily walk, take inventory of your body and how it gets you from point A to point B. Notice the order in which your limbs move as you walk along. Does your heel strike the ground first? What kind of a noise does it make? How does it feel? How does your foot feel inside of your shoe? Notice your socks, how soft or rough the fabric, how warm or cold your toes are inside your footwear. Notice these things as you walk: just notice.
- As you walk along, shift your notice from the foot to the ankle, to the knee, to the hip, to your arms, your hands, and so on. Take inventory. Notice the air on your face as you walk, whether it is cool, cold, warm or hot. Feel the air move your hair against your skin. Just walking.
- Notice the air as you breathe in through your nose. Notice how cool the air is on your nostrils as you breathe in, and that it is warm when you exhale. Feel the sensations: just breathing in, just breathing out. Just breathing.
This is an example of a walking meditation. Your mind may wander—and you should allow it to do so—but try to bring it back to mindfulness. By the time you have finished your walk, you may realize that you have found a certain inner peace you didn’t know existed.
Meditation and Sober Living
If you are struggling to stay sober and motivated to succeed, a sober living home may be right for you. The Sanctuary Recovery Foundation provides sober living residences in the beautiful coastal region of Charleston, SC. We would love to talk to you about how we can help.