The problem of addiction has reached epidemic proportions in our society. While most of us occasionally engage in activities that aren’t exactly healthy—think binge-watching that new series, finishing off that pint of ice cream, having an odd night out at the friendly neighborhood bar—for addicts, the substance or behavior they’ve become addicted to is the main focus of their lives. Can meditation help with addiction?
Recent studies have looked at questions such as “Can meditation help with alcohol addiction? With drug addiction? How about addiction to gaming, tobacco or gambling?” When we practice meditation, especially mindfulness, we train in remaining present and recognizing all feelings, from discomfort to joy, with equanimity and goodwill. And then we let them pass. This is one way meditation helps people work with addiction. Research confirms that meditation has been proven to counter addiction issues especially when combined with psychological methods, as in mindfulness-based cognitive therapy. Mindfulness-based practices can also be very effective in helping prevent relapse. Guided meditation is also recommended.