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How Meditation Cultivated My Recovery from Addiction

How Meditation Cultivated My Recovery from Addiction

Chaos. For as long as I can remember, my life was fundamentally altered and eventually comforted by chaos. If chaos did not physically surround me, it was ever present within my thinking. Experiencing trauma at a young age, I survived by internalizing my pain. I had no tools nor advocate to validate my experience.

This shifted my thinking into total victimization. I was engulfed with symptoms of complex PTSD and I was a tourist in a foreign city with no map. Through my adolescent years, up into my early 20’s, I had no coping skills and avoided all discomfort. My mother passed away unexpectedly January 10, 2010 and my life was forever changed.

Crippled by grief and overwhelmed by the inability to face the permanence of the situation, eventually lead to my full blown addiction. After years of self medicating, unfathomable consequences, and self sabotaging I finally accepted help and chased after recovery.

Treatment. Stepping into treatment, I was convinced I was entering a cult of some sort. How were these people so happy? I vividly remember the first time I was introduced to meditation. I was sitting in group when the therapist told us we were going to practice mindfulness meditation. Ultimately, we were going to SIT STILL for 5 minutes and “just be”.

At this point, I knew this must have been initiation day into the cult. The corny timer bell chimed and the guide on the tape led us into a field, bringing awareness to every inch of our physical bodies. I found myself distracted by the slightest sounds and thoughts of dinner plans flooded my mind. I was frustrated and then the meditation guide calmly said “Don’t let your thoughts distract and frustrate you, let them freely come and pass.”

Trivial as this statement may sound, it has been the pinnacle turning point for me.

Surrender. I would cringe every time I heard this word. I naturally had this misconception that to surrender was a sign of weakness. My distaste for authoritative figures and ideas played a major role in my prejudice against this concept. It was quite the contrary, and I would learn the hard way. I was convinced that I wasn’t the real addict.

Surrounded by addicts whose experience was far different from mine, I immediately separated myself as “different than”. Afterall, I was suffering from PTSD and chronic pain, my diagnosis came from a doctor I trusted. I’m not like them, I am prescribed opiates, I need them.

My jaded thought process ultimately led to my relapse.

I thought I could “drink like a lady” and this defiance catapulted me right back into full-blown addiction. It wasn’t until I surrendered to the idea that I was no different from the next addict, that I got to taste the blissful promises of recovery. In order to be freed from addiction (or the bondage of my indisposed thoughts) I have to completely surrender to a new way of life.

Acceptance. When I look back at the last two years of my life and the lives of those that journey down the road of recovery, I see how much more pleasant the outcome is when I accept people, places, and things exactly as they are. For years I thought if the people in my life would conduct themselves the way I saw fit, things would go much smoother. Perhaps everyone else was not the problem, but I was. Learning to practice acceptance in my daily affairs has only proven to be successful when it follows suite to surrender. At least once a day, I encounter a situation that doesn’t align with my plan of action.

When I refuse to accept things as they are, chaos ensues. From the aggressive drivers on my commute to work to the unplanned cancer diagnosis of a family member, there’s an overwhelming weight and stress lifted when I accept the outcome of any and all circumstances looming over me. 

Healing. This is a practice I utilize daily. Taking time to quiet the noise and calm the chaos, meditation has become a huge component of my daily routine. It’s so easy to get caught up in the painful memories of the past and obsess over the anxieties of the future. How quickly I let chaos overwhelm my life rather than shifting my energy into a peaceful solution. It seems so simple, yet my unhealthy habits and thinking say otherwise.

The core issue of an individual struggling with addiction, is the fundamental inability to process emotion.

Mindfulness meditation has been an ever evolving tool that I utilize when I find myself drowning in seemingly unwarranted stressful emotions. Meditation requires surrender and acceptance of what was, what is, and what’s to come. Practicing meditation has set the tone for being present and slowing down to think before I react. Before I make any major decision, I always take time to pray and wait quietly for a response. Thus far, I’ve found myself practicing patience, being mindful of how I may affect others, and avoiding an abundance of unnecessary pain.

By Tricia Moceo

Tricia Moceo is an Outreach Specialist for Recovery Local, a local addiction/recovery based marketing company. She advocates long term sobriety by working with other websites like Tulip Hill Recovery, that provides meditations and resources to recovering addicts and shedding light on the disease of addiction. Tricia is a mother of two, actively involved in her local recovery community, and is passionate about helping other women find hope in seemingly hopeless situations. 

Struggling and think meditation can help? Practice meditating now, whether you're experienced or brand new to it. 

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