As a meditation teacher whose father died of alcoholism, I’ve always wondered how meditation can help us say no to alcohol.

As you may know, alcoholism is one of the most common addictions in the world, and it carries with it a great many health problems. Alcoholism can affect your blood pressure, heart rate, kidneys, and many other areas of your health. Plus, it can have a disastrous effect on relationships.

Can meditation help alcoholism?

Meditation is the act of focusing the mind on the present moment in a non-judgmental fashion. It’s originally a Hindu and Buddhist practice, but has become wildly popular in the West over the last two years. There are many different types of meditation, like visualizations, breathing meditations, mantras and more. Each of these types of meditation has its own benefits, and there are some great meditations for alcoholism.

Because meditation (and mindfulness) make us more aware of our actions, they can help to stop cravings, including the craving for alcohol. Meditation also helps to promote relaxation and reduce stress, meaning we are less likely to be triggered to drink. And meditation even helps with the health side of drinking because it normalises blood pressure and boosts overall wellbeing.

Let’s take a look at how meditation can help alcoholics to stop drinking.

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How Meditation Helps You Say NO, ALCOHOL!

There are many different ways meditation helps alcoholics. Here are some of the most important.

Strengthens control

The biggest problem for most addicts is that they lack control over their addiction. This is true for alcohol addiction, smoking, and most other addictions. The individual lacks the ability to control their actions and thereby to stop taking substances.

Meditation has been shown to improve conscious awareness. In other words, it makes us more aware of what we are doing. This is a simple but important difference. Many times we are not aware of our actions. How many times have you drunk a beer without thinking about it? That glass of wine went down without you hardly even noticing.

Meditation makes you more aware (more mindful) of what you are doing, so you are more able to control your actions, and more able to say “No” to alcohol.

Promotes relaxation

According to the research, many alcoholics drink because of stress [1]. So naturally, when you are less stressed you are less likely to drink.

One way to reduce the stress in your life is to start meditating [here are the best meditations for stress reduction].

Meditation has been proven to promote the parasympathetic nervous system, which reduces stress and promotes relaxation. So the next time you feel like grabbing a drink, try to meditate for just ten minutes first. See if that relaxes you enough to say no to alcohol.

Helps with Rehab

There are Rehab centres all over the world, such as Orange County Rehab. Many people struggle to get through Rehab, however. It puts pressure on you to stop drinking, and it can be difficult to take the changes to your lifestyle. What you need is a way to relax while going through rehab. Meditation can be precisely that. By meditating on the breath for 20 minutes a day you can greatly strengthen your resolve to get through rehab and to succeed.

Emotional Balance

Comfort drinking is when you use alcohol at times of high emotions. For instance, many people drink alcohol when they are feeling down and depressed. And it can be hard to say no to alcohol when you’re feeling crappy. The better strategy is to stop feeling crappy in the first place.

One way to boost your overall mood is to practice meditations that promote positive feelings. For instance, the Buddhist meditation techniques Metta, or “Loving Kindness Meditation”, has been shown to promote feelings of connection to other people and compassion. These positive emotions can lift you out of a bad mood and make you feel much better. And once you feel better, you will be less likely to comfort drink.

There are many reasons why alcoholics should meditate. If you struggle to say no to alcohol it is probably due to stress, emotions, and a lack of conscious awareness.

By meditating, you will increase your self-control, balance your emotions, and reduce stress, all of which will help you to stay off alcohol for good.

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Written by Paul Harrison

Paul Harrison is a qualified meditation teacher and writer with more than 15 years experience in meditation and mindfulness. He studied meditation in Oxford, UK, and Hamilton Ontario Canada, and earned his degree at Staffordshire University. Paul has helped thousands of people to discover their true potential through mindfulness, yoga and meditation.