One of the basic tenets of meditation involves observation and self-analysis, and how thoughts and emotions flow through us. This has proven to be an effective tool for many people battling various types of addictions.
There are many supporters and detractors of the notion that meditation can be used to battle addiction, but because addiction is such a difficult human experience to understand or treat, few can logically close the door on meditation as a potential path of treatment.
For many people battling addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling or other impulsive behavior, the biggest problem is that they have lost touch with how their minds process and deal with the impulses that compel them toward such destructive behavior. If you've ever dealt with someone who is struggling with an addiction, it's usually fairly easy to see from an outside perspective that the addictive behavior is not really at the core of the problem.
Many people are driven to drugs and alcohol as a result of other issues that they are unable or unwilling to face directly. As a result, they find themselves caught up in seeking the perceived 'relief' that they feel when under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The same type of effect is in play with those who have gambling addictions, sex addictions, or any other type of unchecked destructive behavior.
By practicing meditation, addicts have the opportunity to slowly and thoroughly explore their own minds. In the process, they may be able to confront the feelings, insecurities or troubling memories that are driving their addictions. And while meditation is certainly not for everyone, and it should be employed in conjunction with professional psychotherapy, it has proven to be an effective method of treatment for many individuals.
One of the most attractive aspects of using meditation as a form of treatment for addiction, is that one can practice meditation alone and it can be done anywhere. In this way, the treatment is almost entirely free, or at least very cost-effective, even if you decide to receive professional instructions at the outset.
The processes of self-exploration and mind observation are positive exercises for people in all states of mental health. Addicts are a very specific set of individuals, who have very unique psychological make-ups and requirements. But even those who have never dealt with addiction can benefit from meditation and the self-understanding it can provide.
On a daily basis, each of us is confronted with situations where we don't control our thoughts or emotions in a way that we would like. Meditation helps us to better understand our thoughts and emotions, and how our body deals with and interprets them. Learning more about how our physical body interacts with the thoughts and emotions created by our minds is something that would help almost all of us.