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Meditation

The following are just ideas that some members have found to be especially helpful for dealing with the problems encountered in withdrawal.

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" I wasn't able to be still enough to meditate until my fourth month out from a Cold Turkey. Prior to that, the rushing thoughts, mental chatter, and physical symptoms made it too hard to learn this skill.

If you're able to leave the house, many yoga and spiritual centers offer meditation classes and groups; as well, a myriad of books on the topic can be ordered off the web. One good one is Mindfulness in Plain English, by Bhante H. Gunaratana.

You can also just jump into it. Find a quite place to sit, move into a seated position with your spine erect and your legs crossed, and place your hands palm-upwards on your knees. You can either close or half-close your eyes. The thoughts will likely come pouring in at first, and it will be difficult to silence all the background noise and chatter of memory and cognitions. If you can find a way to step outside your self -- to be an observer of your thoughts -- you'll start to find a deep inner peace. It's helped me to repeat, "Thinking, thinking, thinking," to myself as thoughts arise, neither judging nor following the thoughts on their mad trajectories. It's also a good idea to start by meditating for short periods of time -- 10 minutes or so, two or three times a day -- before you build up to the longer ones.

To anchor yourself in the present moment, the now, you can focus on the physical sensation of your hands resting on your legs, and your legs and buttocks resting on the floor, feeling the heaviness of your body where it attaches to the earth. It has also helped me to anchor myself in any part of the body not at the time in pain or spasm -- usually my hands -- and to envision that warm, glowing, healthy feeling flowing out to the parts of my body that are screaming for relief -- usually my belly, chest, neck and head. " - Matt

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"I found meditation really helpful too. I enjoyed the guided meditations at this site http://www.audiodharma.org/talks-guidedmeditation.html especially the last two before the depression series. - Anthea

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Lizís Meditation 

There are two easy steps to learn how to do this.

1. Deep abdominal or diaphragmatic breathing
2. Focusing your mind

Deep breathing:

In a comfortable seated or laying down position, relax your gut muscles and place your hand over your abdomen. As you breathe in, you want to see you hand rise and fall as you breathe in and out. If you don't see your hand move, you are still breathing into your chest. This is the correct way to breath, by the way. A lot of us who experience anxiety do not breathe correctly; we tend to breath into our chest which can easily result in that all too familiar shortness of breath feeling we get with high anxiety and panic attacks. Practice breathing like this, but as you breathe in, do so through your nose for a count of 5 or 6 or whatever is comfortable for you,  hold it for a count of 4, and then exhale through your nose again to a count of 5 or 6 and then hold again for a count of 4. How long you take to breathe in and out and hold at the end of each breath is really up to you and what is comfortable for you. The point here is to slow your breathing down considerably as well as making sure you are breathing into your gut. Once you have this down pat, you are ready for the next step.

Focusing your mind:

You will want to find a quiet place where you feel comfortable. Start by closing your eyes and touching or lightly tapping the end of you nose a couple times- continue to keep your eyes closed. Once you have an idea of where the end of you nose is (I know this sounds silly), I want you to imagine a 'space' just past the end of you nose. When you find that 'imaginary' space, see if you can see a little spec of light or pattern of
some sort appear in the darkness. If you see something, stay focused on it. It will most likely change shape or pattern. There is nothing wrong with this. If you don't see anything at all, don't fret. Just see the darkness for what it is- the space just past the end of your nose. This is where I want you to put your attention. Focus on it. It is nothingness. If you have thoughts that come into your mind, let them come, and then let them go without thinking about them or placing any emotion on them. They are
what they are. Just let them be. Once you get the hang of this, if you are truly focusing on the darkness, there won't be any thoughts at all- just quiet and peacefulness.

Once you have these first two exercises down, you will want to combine them, so that after you have taken two or three passes with the deep breathing and you have also identified that spot just past the end of your nose, just continue with the breathing and focusing until you feel calm and relaxed or until you have had enough.

The last step is optional.

Once you are focused and engaged in your deep breathing, when you breathe in and hold for those few seconds, you can say a little something to yourself. For example, "I am breathing peace, health, and safety into my body", or anything you want to say to yourself. As you breath out and get to that point where you hold again before inhaling, say another statement to yourself like, 'I am calm, at peace, and I am safe, or whatever message you want to give to yourself. Just make it a positive one. It doesn't have to be true because what you are trying to send this message to your brain about the way you want to feel. After a while, your brain will begin to hear it. Don't get frustrated if this doesn't seem to come together right away. It dose for some and it doesn't for others. Some just need to practice it until they get the hang of it.

And that's really all there is to it. This is how I put myself to sleep at night, but I also find it very refreshing if used during the day when I need a break.

It might be helpful if at first you could print this out and have someone else read the directions to you slowly as you go through the steps until you get the hang of it. The idea behind this is that the brain cannot focus on two things at once and if focused on that empty space, you are not going to be thinking of anything else. Other aspects of this is to learn to either allow the thoughts to stream freely through your consciousness without fighting or reacting or being judgmental of them, or to stop the thinking altogether and just allow yourself to 'be'.

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Some Recommended Books

Although meditation is often associated with the mystical religions of the east, there is also a strong meditative tradition in Christianity (although it is now a somewhat marginal pursuit by mainstream Christian churches). If you think you would benefit from bringing Jesus into your meditative practice, then any book by Anthony de Mello would be helpful, but especially "Contact with God".

If you prefer meditation with no religious overtones, and think you'd like it done with a bit of humour, then I can highly recommend "The Endorphin Effect" by William Bloom. The title makes it sound like it is about supplements and/or chemicals - it isn't, I assure you. Its just an approach to meditation that attempts to get you to release - on your own command - the pain killing and joyous flow of natural endorphins through meditation.

Peace Martin

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Disclaimer:  The information contained in this website was not compiled by a doctor or anyone with medical training. The advice contained herein should not be substituted for the advice of a physician who is well-informed in the subject matter discussed. Before making any decisions about your health or treatment you should always confer with your physician and it is always assumed that you will do so.

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Last updated 22 July 2015