Meditation Exercise for People in Addiction Treatment

At Northbound we do weekly meditation groups using a specially designed meditation exercise I put together for clients in drug and alcohol rehab. After sifting through hundreds of meditation books, CD’s, and internet resources, I could not find a meditation that was suitable to use in a drug and alcohol treatment facility. Many of the exercises I came across did not have the elements of meditation and contemplation I was looking for. So, I took bits and pieces from many different sources and compiled them to create a meditation exercise for people in a drug and alcohol rehab. This meditation exercise is a combination of exerpts from the 12×12 page 99 and 100, a progressive muscle relaxation exercise, a guided meditation exercise, and hyponotic suggestion. I welcome the use of this meditation exercise by all who wish to utilize it. The following is the meditation exercise created for Northbound Treatment Centers.

Northbound Meditation GroupGuided MeditationInstructions for Group Leader: Use a low, calm, voice and speak loudly and clearly. Read slowly with many pauses. Explanation of what the meditation group is to the Clients:

“The following meditation exercise is a combination of progressive muscle relaxation, guided meditation, 11th Step Meditation, and Hypnosis. It is a meditation created specifically for Northbound clients. Find a place where you can lie down and get comfortable. Lay on your back with your hands at your sides. Meditation is something that takes practice so it might be a little hard at first. Just focus on the sound of my voice and do the best you can. If you have to go to the bathroom do it now. O.k. Let’s Begin:”

Settle back and get as comfortable as you possibly can. Focus on the sound of my voice. Close your eyes gently. Tune in to your breathing. (Pause) Notice it’s pace and rhythm. Take a deep breath and hold it. (Pause) Now let it out slowly. Begin to let yourself feel completely calm, peaceful, and relaxed. (Pause) Take another deep breath, a little deeper this time, letting yourself feel completely calm, peaceful, comfortable and relaxed. (Pause) Now, with the rest of your body feeling more and more comfortable and relaxed, slowly clench your fists. Clench them tighter and tighter and study the tension. Keep them clenched and feel the tension in your fists, hands, and forearms. (Short Pause) Now on an exhale, let your hand relax and go limp, allowing your fingers to become loose. Notice the contrast between the feeling of tension and now the feeling of relaxation. (Short Pause) Let your whole body go and relax even more completely. (Short Pause) Take deep slow steady breaths. You have no fear, no care, no worry, of today, tomorrow, or yesterday, only a few moments of complete and total relaxation. Now I want you to bend both of your elbows and tense your biceps. Tense them hard until they almost quiver. Hold them tight and study the tension. (Short Pause) Now on an exhale relax. Let your arms straighten out and drop gently to your sides. Just go limp, feeling heavy and relaxed. Notice the tension leave your muscles and experience relaxation that replaces the tension and let the feeling flow and spread into the rest of your body so that you feel peaceful and calm. Take deep slow steady breaths. Feel yourself becoming more and more relaxed.

(Pause) (From this point onward, pause where it seems appropriate to allow enough time for the tensing and relaxing to occur.)

Now I want you to focus all your attention on your neck, your shoulders, and your upper back. As you breathe, imagine that you are releasing tension from your neck, shoulders, and upper back. With each breath you take, feel your neck, shoulders, and upper back grow heavier and more and more relaxed. As you release tension in your arms, neck, shoulders, and upper back, feel the wave of relaxation moving downwards through your torso, lower back and stomach. With each breath, you become more and more relaxed.

Take deep slow steady breaths. You have no fear, no care, no worry of today, tomorrow, or yesterday. Just a few moments of complete and total relaxation. Practice letting go of everything that may be bothering you today, and fear you have of tomorrow, and resentment left over from yesterday. Just relax. Right here, right now, nothing can harm you. No one can hurt you. Just relax. Continue to focus on the sound of my voice and stay awake for as long as you possibly can.

Now I want you to tighten and flex the muscles in your buttocks and thighs. You can flex your thighs by pressing down on your heels with your toes in the air. Hold the tension. Keep the muscles tight and tense. And on an exhale let go. Relax and notice the difference as you let your hips and thighs relax and allow that feeling to proceed on its own until you feel completely and deeply relaxed.

Now press your toes straight out away from your body as if you were on tiptoes. Feel the muscles in your calves become taught and tense. Hold the tension. Study the tension and now relax. Feel the difference between the tension and the delightful, calm, peaceful feeling of being deeply relaxed. Feel the heaviness of your entire lower body as you relax further still.

Take deep slow steady breaths. Continue to focus on the sound of my voice and the music in the background. You have no fear, no care, no worry, of today, tomorrow, or yesterday, just a few moments of complete and total relaxation.

If you wish, you can become even more deeply relaxed at any time during this meditation by merely taking a deep breath and slowly exhaling. As you breath deeply, feel your entire body become heavy, comfortable and relaxed. Think the following thoughts to yourself: “I feel quiet. I am feeling deeply relaxed. My body feels calm and quiet. My neck, my jaws, my forehead are all calm and smooth. My whole body is heavy, comfortable, relaxed, and quiet. My arms and hands are heavy and warm. I am at peace.”

Take deep slow steady breaths. You have no fear, no care, no worry, of today, tomorrow, or yesterday, just a few moments of complete and total relaxation.

Now I want you to say this prayer to yourself.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace! That where there is hatred, I may bring love. That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness. That where there is discord, I may bring harmony. That where there is error, I may bring truth. That where there is doubt, I may bring faith. That where there is despair, I may bring hope. That where there are shadows, I may bring light. That where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted. To understand, than to be understood. To love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.

As though lying upon a sunlit beach, let us relax and breath deeply of the spiritual atmosphere with which the grace of this prayer surrounds us. Let us become willing to partake and be strengthened and lifted up by the sheer spiritual power, beauty, and love of which these magnificent words are the carriers. (pause) Let us look now upon the sea and ponder what its mystery is; and let us lift our eyes to the far horizon, beyond which we shall seek all those wonders still unseen.

Take deep slow steady breaths. You have no fear, no care, no worry, of today, tomorrow, or yesterday, just a few moments of complete and total relaxation. Practice letting everything go. With every breath, with every exhale, you can feel yourself becoming more, and more relaxed. As you stop fighting everyone and everything you can begin to feel a great sense of peace overwhelm you.

Meditation is something which can always be further developed. It has no boundaries, either of width, height, or time. It is essentially an individual adventure, something which each one of us works out in his own way, but its object is always the same: to improve our conscious contact with God, with His Grace, Wisdom, and Love.

Take deep slow steady breaths. Let all your worry, all your care, all your anger go. With every breath, with every exhale, you can feel yourself becoming more and more at peace with everyone and everything around you.

Now I want you to picture yourself lying beside a gently running stream. You can hear the stream in the background and a cool breeze on your face and the warmth of the sunshine on your body. As you lie beside the gently running stream you begin to gently and slowly float up into the sky. Higher and higher. Up into the clouds. The clouds are soft and white. (Pause) As you gently float up into the sky, you notice that there is a great big ball of giant golden light. The great, big ball of giant golden light is calm and smooth. You can feel the great, big ball of giant golden light pull you toward it until you are resting softly beneath it. The giant sphere of golden light is resting just above you now and it begins to release pure, liquid relaxation. You can feel the pure liquid relaxation pouring onto your head and gently spreading across your scalp. It gently spreads across your forehead and down around your entire head. And, now its spreading across your shoulders and with it you can feel your shoulders relax more and more. It spreads around your hips and down your legs and, finally pours around your feet, so you are covered with pure liquid relaxation.

Take deep slow steady breaths. You have no fear, no care, no worry, of today, tomorrow, or yesterday, just a few moments of complete and total relaxation. Practice letting everything go. With every breath, with every exhale, you can feel yourself becoming more, and more relaxed.
Again say this prayer to yourself:

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace! That where there is hatred, I may bring love. That where there is wrong, I may bring the spirit of forgiveness. That where there is discord, I may bring harmony. That where there is error, I may bring truth. That where there is doubt, I may bring faith. That where there is despair, I may bring hope. That where there are shadows, I may bring light. That where there is sadness, I may bring joy. Lord, grant that I may seek rather to comfort, than to be comforted. To understand, than to be understood. To love, than to be loved. For it is by self-forgetting that one finds. It is by forgiving that one is forgiven. It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.

You are taking deep slow steady breaths. You have no fear, no care, no worry, of today, tomorrow, or yesterday, just a few moments of complete and total relaxation. Right now you are letting everything go-Letting go of every resentment, all your anger, and all your fear. Right here, right now, nothing can harm you. No one can hurt you. With every breath, with every exhale, you feel yourself becoming more, and more relaxed. All your tension in all your muscles, in every fiber of your being, is slowly drifting away now without your help. You are sinking deeper and deeper into the ground. Your body is feeling heavier and more and more relaxed.
If any thoughts try to break in I want you to say to yourself “Relax.” Just by saying the word “Relax” your mind becomes peaceful and all the tension in all your muscles melts away as you sink deeper and deeper into a state of relaxation. Relax.

You feel quiet. You are feeling deeply, deeply relaxed. Your body feels calm and quiet. Your neck, your jaws, your forehead are all calm and smooth. Your whole body is heavy, comfortable, relaxed, and quiet. Your arms and hands are heavy and warm. You are at peace.
Take deep slow steady breaths. You have no fear, no care, no worry, of today, tomorrow, or yesterday, just a few moments of complete and total relaxation.

Now focus all your attention on the top of your head. Once again you can feel the great, big ball of giant golden light begin to release pure, liquid relaxation. You can feel the pure liquid relaxation pouring onto your head and gently spreading across your scalp. It gently spreads across your forehead and down around your entire head. And, now its spreading across your shoulders and with it you can feel your shoulders relax more and more. It spreads around your hips and down your legs and, finally pours around your feet, so you are covered with pure liquid relaxation.

In a few moments you will no longer hear the sound of my voice. I want you to continue to focus on your breathing and relax. If at any time you feel yourself disturbed, or anxious, or some thought tries to break in, I want you to say the serenity prayer over and over again to yourself till you again feel completely calm, comfortable, peaceful, and relaxed.
GOD,
 Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. THY will not mine be done.

(At this point in the meditation you should be at least 20 to 30 minutes into the hour long group session. If you are not, then you read the meditation too fast and you need to slow down next time. Let the client sit and sleep/meditate till there is ten minutes left in the group, then begin to end the meditation with the following)

End the meditation ten minutes before the end of group with the following:

While remaining relaxed, notice the ways your physical sensations changed as you practiced these techniques. Notice the changes in your emotions. Your thoughts.

(Pause) When you get relaxed, you need to activate your body slowly. So, slowly become aware of your body on the floor. (pause) Slowly take 5 deep breaths, and let them out. As you breathe in, imagine pure energy flowing into your body and you are becoming more alert. Know that you will have energy and be calm and at peace throughout the rest of the day when you finally activate. (Pause) After your 5 breaths, wiggle your fingers and toes and open you eyes when you are ready.

END OF MEDITATION

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