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Meditation for Alcoholism: Definition, Benefits, and Effectiveness

Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 05/12/2023

Meditation is a mind-body practice that has been used for thousands of years to promote relaxation, enhance self-awareness, and foster spiritual growth. In recent years, it has also gained recognition as a valuable tool in the treatment of alcoholism and other forms of substance abuse.

What is Meditation?

Meditation is a practice that involves focusing the mind, typically on a specific object, thought, or activity, to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state. There are many different types of meditation, including mindfulness meditation, transcendental meditation, loving-kindness meditation, and others. While the practices can vary widely, they all share a common goal: to cultivate a state of relaxation, mental clarity, and inner peace.

How Does Meditation Help in Alcoholism?

Meditation offers a multifaceted approach to the treatment of alcoholism, addressing several key aspects of the condition:

  1. Stress Reduction: Chronic stress is a common trigger for alcohol use and relapse. Meditation can help reduce stress by promoting a state of relaxation and well-being.
  2. Craving Management: Cravings for alcohol can be a significant challenge in the recovery process. Mindfulness-based practices can help individuals become more aware of their cravings and respond to them in a more healthy and productive way.
  3. Emotional Regulation: Many individuals with alcoholism struggle with emotional dysregulation. By promoting self-awareness and acceptance, meditation can help individuals better understand and manage their emotions.
  4. Spiritual Growth: For many, meditation also offers a spiritual path that can provide a sense of purpose and meaning, which can be a powerful motivator in the recovery process.

What are the Benefits of Meditation for Alcoholism?

The benefits of meditation for individuals struggling with alcoholism are numerous:

  1. Reduced Stress and Anxiety: Regular meditation practice can help reduce stress and anxiety, both of which are common triggers for alcohol use.
  2. Improved Mental Clarity: Meditation can help to improve focus and concentration, promote mental clarity, and enhance cognitive function.
  3. Emotional Balance: By fostering self-awareness and acceptance, meditation can help individuals better understand and manage their emotions, promoting greater emotional balance and resilience.
  4. Spiritual Development: For those who are interested, meditation can offer a spiritual path that can support long-term recovery.

What Does a Meditation Session for Alcoholism Look Like?

A meditation session for individuals recovering from alcoholism might include guided meditation, mindfulness practices, and other techniques to promote relaxation and self-awareness. The specific practices can be tailored to the needs and abilities of the individual, making meditation a flexible and accessible tool for recovery.

How Effective is Meditation for Alcoholism?

While more research is needed, current studies suggest that meditation can be a valuable tool in the treatment of alcoholism. For example, a study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse found that mindfulness-based interventions could help reduce cravings and improve emotional regulation among individuals in treatment for substance use disorders.

However, it’s important to note that while meditation can be a valuable part of a comprehensive treatment plan, it is not typically sufficient as a stand-alone treatment. Most experts recommend using meditation in conjunction with other evidence-based treatments for alcoholism, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication-assisted treatment, and peer support groups.

How Much Does Meditation for Alcoholism Cost?

Meditation can be a cost-effective tool in the treatment of alcoholism. There are many free or low-cost resources available, including online meditation guides and apps, community meditation groups, and books on the subject. Some recovery programs may also include meditation as part of their treatment offerings.

In conclusion, meditation can offer numerous benefits for individuals recovering from alcoholism, including reduced stress and anxiety, improved mental clarity, emotional balance, and potential spiritual development. As a flexible, accessible, and cost-effective tool, it can serve as a valuable component of a comprehensive treatment plan for alcoholism.

What Other Treatments Are Available for Alcoholism?

Several treatment modalities are available for alcoholism. Below we list the most common alcoholism treatment options.


  • American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
  • National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention
  • The American Psychological Association