Step Eleven: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God we we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Since before science had an answer to the problem of drug and alcohol addiction, there was a spiritual answer. When dozens of men and women across the country were finding a spiritual solution to addiction and alcoholism, doctors were astonished that there was finally a way to cure addicts and alcoholics of their ailments. Currently, there is no “cure” for addiction and alcoholism. Labeled as a “relapsing and remitting” disease by many, there is always a threat of relapse, until science proves otherwise. What does exist are numerous practices, therapy methods, and lifestyle changes which contribute to effective change. Millions of people have been able to recover and sustain their recovery for a lifetime.
Meditation is a part of recovery. Meditation is also scientifically proven to reduce many of the symptoms and effects of addiction, for example, stress, depression, anxiety, and even inflammation which contributes to heart complications. The study of meditation isn’t providing circumstantial evidence. Primarily using brain imaging technologies, researchers have found that meditation actually changes brain matter and creates permanent change in the way the brain works. One of the areas being studied is pain and opioid addiction.
Pain management largely relies upon the use of opioid drugs which work with the brain’s opioid receptors. Opioid receptors naturally become blocked when the brain senses pain. Once they are blocked, the body can fight pain with blood flow and analgesic effects. Meditation has been proven to interact with specific opioid receptors in the brain, meaning it can act in the same way an opioid medication does. Problematically, many people who are prescribed opioid medications become chemically dependent on them. Creating too strong of an analgesic effect while also producing an euphoric effect contributes to a dependency on the medication. Dependency on opioid medications for pain relief ends up creating a low threshold for pain. Eventually, patients are encouraged to take more medication to treat an ever-increasing amount of pain.
Meditation holds the capacity to greatly reduce pain mentally and physically. When the brain becomes dysfunctionally sensitive to pain, it perceives physical and emotional pain the same way. Meditation helps create a strong center, often referred to as equanimity, in which people are not shaken from their spiritual core no matter what happens in their life, their mind, or their physical form. Though meditation may not replace other treatments for opioid addiction, it is a proven and time tested method for aiding in recovery.
There is hope in recovery from opioid addiction. Find freedom through the recovery services and programs at Design For Change in Lancaster, California. Our long term treatment programs help clients create the actionable change necessary for lifelong recovery. For more information, call us today at (877) 267-3646.