If you have ever encountered the problem of dependence on something, it will be easy for you to understand me. Drug addiction has long destroyed my life, and victory over it has become the greatest achievement in my life. That is why I want to share my story with you.
What started it all?
At 23, I got my first serious job. I worked in the office of one well-known large company. Due to constant stress, I lived with a feeling of mild anxiety until it developed into a severe issue. When I realized that I needed to cope with my mental health problems, I decided to try some alternative treatments, such as aromatherapy, herbs, and relaxing exercises. But nothing worked for me. It was after a year or so that my girlfriend advised me to seek medical attention. I must admit that this marked the turning point of my life. My doctor prescribed Xanax as a treatment for the anxiety. Every time I took these drugs, I experienced an amazing sedating and calming effect. The pills became very useful for me, and I even began to self-medicate when I felt that I might have anxiety or panic attacks. In the end, I became addicted to Xanax because I was taking it every day, exceeding the recommended dosage.
Nevertheless, Xanax helped me to some extent. It allowed me to temporarily regain control of my life. Its sedating and calming effect enabled me to explore other forms of treatment for anxiety. For instance, I focused on a holistic approach, especially yoga and mindfulness meditation. These played a significant role in helping me overcome addiction.
I learned about the holistic approach from my close friends. Also, I heard that yoga and mindfulness meditation help with addiction, depression, anxiety, and stress. That is why I decided to use this alternative therapy to cope with Xanax withdrawal symptoms like brain fog, tinnitus, vertigo, dizziness, and my mental health problems. So I started to practice different poses and meditation at home. I used the Internet, especially YouTube, to study various asanas and tried to repeat them to cope with rebound anxiety.
Sometimes I felt a hollow inside me and this compelled me to try everything I could to deal with the problem. I sat for 20 minutes in the morning and before bedtime, focusing on my thoughts and breathing. Because it is essential to control the flow of your thoughts when you do yoga. I must admit that yoga methods or poses like child’s pose, corpse pose, lying down twist, cobra, and reclining-bound angle pose helped me greatly with my recovery.
How Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga Helped with My Addiction
After one month of doing yoga and meditation, I started feeling positive effects. My thoughts were not always fixated on negative things. Sometimes I felt that my brain had turned off for those glorious 60 minutes when I was practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation.
For me, the advantages of this approach are obvious. I eventually realized that this is something that I missed for many years, and this is important. And I am not surprised that these methods underlie holistic drug rehab centers (find out more).
I was keen to do anything that would alleviate anxiety and Xanax withdrawal symptoms. So, I was attending classes to learn more about mindfulness meditation and yoga. My teacher guided me through different asanas and meditation tactics. He taught me various ways to connect with my feelings, body, emotions, and sensations. Through this teaching, I entered the detached awareness realm. I learned to become more attuned to my body and less entangled in my mind. This enables me to avoid relentless and overwhelming thoughts. Now I feel calm and relaxed when doing meditation and yoga.
Practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation slows down my thoughts, eases my headache, and lowers my shoulders. I enter a trance-like state that lasts long after the practice.
Benefits of Holistic Approach
Research has shown that mindfulness meditation and yoga can work as complementary therapies for preventing and treating addictive behaviors. Personally, I can attest that the benefits of such an approach are immense when it comes to dealing with Xanax addiction and withdrawal symptoms. By practicing mindfulness meditation, I’m able to pause from my past incessant feelings, emotions, and thoughts that used to consume me, leading to anxiety and panic attacks. I can now observe and control my body, ideas, and feelings. This enables me to create a space between past and current experiences in my mind.
Yoga improves my well-being, sense, and mood. I use different meditation techniques, breathing modulations, and body postures to promote my spirituality, relaxation, and physical strength. While attending yoga classes, I learned practices that target the brain areas that are affected by addiction. I also engage in practices that enable me to manage anxiety.
Committing Myself to Regular Yoga and Mindfulness Meditation Practice
After practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation for six months, I realized that I could live for days without taking Xanax. Also, I did not experience these awful withdrawal symptoms for some time. Therefore, I decided to make up for lost time that I miss due to anxiety and panic attacks. I started working more and skipping my yoga classes. I was talking to myself that I could lose a couple of days. However, it did not take long before my mind became uncontrollable again. I realized that I must resume regular yoga classes and meditation seasons again
It was at this time when one of my friends suggested me to sign up for a holistic recovery center. Because she thought that my approach was not working. But I decided to follow my way. And instead of going to rehab I met with my yoga coach. We were talking a lot about my mental problems and he reminded me about willpower as well as its role in addiction recovery.
He described meditation as a nonjudgmental, present-time, responsive, kind, and investigative awareness. He taught me that I must constantly redirect and train my attention now and here if I want to remember my current experiences, intentions, and thoughts. Mindfulness teaches humans to see things clearly and respond to them wisely. Recommitting to yoga and mindfulness meditation provided the relief I needed again.
After this meeting with my trainer, I practiced yoga and meditation every day for the next nine months. I must admit that this has played a crucial role in my recovery. My mental health has improved, and I am no longer tempted to take Xanax to treat anxiety. I do not feel stress or depression from trivial things, as before. Now I treat myself with compassion and kindness. What is more, I now know how to take a break from my thoughts and mind. It is not surprising to me that research recommends mindfulness meditation as a treatment for substance use disorder and prevention of future relapse.
Reflecting on My Past and Recovery
It was through a regular practice of yoga and mindfulness that I was able to cope with anxiety, as well as to overcome the addiction to Xanax and withdrawal symptoms. All the years of counseling, therapy and reading various materials, finally joined in one place. I began to see and experience things differently and more clearly. I realized that I was not only my emotions, addictions, thoughts, and coercion.
It dawned on me that I didn’t have to rely only on my emotions and feelings or to take them all personally to be true. I learnt that I could just let them pass and arise. This is basically what being mindful is all about. It is about watching phenomena as they arise without being judgmental. This realization brings freedom and with freedom comes emotional sobriety and recovery.
I practice body relaxation scans, guided meditation, nature walks, and primordial sound meditation to detach from my thoughts as well as impulses that make me feel anxious. Today, I am more aware of what happens in my mind, body, and soul. I no longer have to respond or react to every thought or feeling. I focus on my breath and allow negative thoughts and feelings that bring anxiety to pass instead of reacting on them. Initially, this was not easy but with regular yoga and mindfulness meditation practice, it became easier.
The Bottom Line
Based on my experience, I can say that natural medicine and rehabilitation, unlike drugs such as Xanax, do not have that amount of negative effects. Moreover, a holistic approach to addiction treatment focuses on all aspects of the human being. It addresses the root causes of problems such as anxiety and dependence, and at the same time tells you how to prevent a relapse. Today, mindfulness meditation and yoga help me reduce hostility while increasing self-compassion and self-acceptance. I can say with confidence that this practice helped me cope with anxiety. I use it for relaxation and self-control, especially when faced with situations or conditions in which I feel vulnerable. The experience that I get whenever I practice mindfulness meditation and yoga frees my mind.
About the author
John Adkins is a blogger and volunteer who deals with issues of mental health, addiction, and life in recovery. He has overcome addiction in the past. Also, he works with a foundation that helps drug addicts, so he has a clear understanding of their problems. John is currently a writer for Addiction Resource.