The problem: accepting we have a problem
How is it we seem to find ourselves overindulging in a drink so frequently? We are a nation famed for our drinking, and yet, such overindulgence is rife throughout the world.
Are we really indulging in the drink to have some fun, or is that simply what we’re trying to convince ourselves? So often a wee tipple starts with a desire to take the edge off things, or to relax, and other times it can offer us the promise of escape. And sometimes it results in full-blown oblivion.
But why is it so common to resort to alcohol?
It’s fair to say we live in an increasingly crazy, and over-stimulating world, where switching off from the action of daily life leaves us feeling like we’re somehow missing out. Our brains experience so much agitation that quite often a small sherry feels like the ideal solution to our overactive nervous system.
But while it is an alluring short-term fix, it doesn’t offer much as an ongoing strategy. Before long, our brain cells start dying, our liver begins deteriorating, and our brain activity becomes dulled and ceases functioning nearly as well as when we’re free of the grog.
The most evolved part of the brain, the pre-frontal cortex, is the one that suffers the worst impairment. This has enormous ramifications for us because it is the home of our creative thinking, our rationality, our organisational capability, our ability to problem solve and our ability to feel love, compassion and empathy.
It is essential to all aspects of living. And regular interactions with alcohol can seriously affect the way we think, feel and act around others.
It may begin to affect our relationships, with family, friends and colleagues. It may take priority over our work, and many of the most important aspects of our personal life may become secondary.
And there can be, and often is, such a sneaky progression that we barely even notice it is arising. We may not notice that we have steadily become less caring and less graceful. And even if we do, we will no doubt find a way to justify our behaviour, based on some pain we’re carrying inside that is causing us to feel some level of bitterness, resentment or anger towards the world.
Or we can just ignore it. The path of ignorance is so comfortable that we can conveniently overlook our lack of grace, honesty, the damage to our heart, liver, fitness, respiration and sexual function.
And once a tendency to overindulge has become ingrained, the most challenging thing of all is to admit we have a problem. To own up to our frailties, and face up to the fact that things have gotten out of hand, or are threatening to get out of hand. That we’ve been hiding behind the drink to avoid having to face up to any issues we have with pain, trauma and self-worth.
It may not even be a conscious choice. When we consume intoxicants such as alcohol, it creates cognitive distortions that twist our perception and reading of situations and events. And the more damage we do to the frontal cortex of the brain, the more difficult it becomes to see and think and clearly.
We can become a hostage to our self-destructive programming.
Even when it feels like we have it under control, all it takes is one drink, and we can be back on the hard stuff. We think we’ll drink in moderation, but it soon spirals into yet another.
It takes courage to admit there may be a problem, but it is the first and most vital step on the road to recovery.
Meditation is helpful in connecting me with my motives and objectives, with acceptance, and very helpful with my recovery programme. I have to be particularly patient with myself as I have to clear up a lot of psychological clutter to find tranquility.
How can Vedic meditation help?
Vedic meditation works at a number of levels to help provide you with relief from the influences that may have driven you to seek solace in alcohol.
Often, one of the causal factors is a super agitated nervous system. There can be high levels of anxiety and a hugely overactive mind. We can either numb this agitation with alcohol, or soothe it with meditation.
The great thing about this particular type of meditation is that the soothing sound of the mantras we give you will begin pacifying your nervous system and calm it down within minutes of starting your first session.
With repeated practise, your nervous system will begin to operate in a much calmer way throughout your day, and there will be less agitation in your body and less busy-ness in the mind.
Any underlying feelings of anxiety will begin to dissipate and in its place comes a sense of clarity and serenity. Old pain and trauma begin to leave your nervous system, so you feel less scarred by life.
Issues of self-worth and self-esteem begin to diminish, and you feel much more empowered to be your best self.
And the lovely thing is, with time, your self-destructive tendencies tend to dissolve. Will describes his own past experiences with alcohol:
Not only will Vedic meditation help you stay balanced, but it will also help you reverse much of the damage caused by the drinking.
It helps facilitate regeneration of all the cells and tissues within the body and reactivation of the Pre Frontal Cortex.
The cognitive distortions that developed as a result of drinking will also begin melting away and in its place comes an ability to interact with people in a much more fulfilling way. It feels as if you’re regaining some of your old true self again.
All those old patterns of self-sabotage begin diminishing when you introduce meditation into your life. As Moby says “when I’m doing it every day, the quality of my life internally just improves”.
And the great thing is, Vedic meditation is so incredibly easy to do. It is renowned for being the easiest form of meditation, which is essential when your nervous system has been subject to so much stress and intoxication.
It’s also very enjoyable. It initiates a lot of endorphin release, and so doing this thing that’s good for you makes you feel really good. It’s a much healthier way of getting your kicks!
This type of meditation also takes you into a deep state. It’s like a different kind of transcendence than what you might have experienced through drink or drugs. It’s one where you come out of it feeling uplifted by it rather than hung-over from it.
Ultimately, Vedic meditation will help you develop a more evolved state of consciousness, one where you become free of any addictive tendencies you may have.
And, in the case, of those in recovery, it makes an incredible compliment to the support of your recovery programme.
One reason I drank was that my brain would get to a level of agitation, and one thing that was incredibly effective at diminishing the agitation was alcohol. For me...meditation is an effective tool at diminishing agitation and because it was agitation that often led me to drink, it's lack - the lack of restlessness - makes me less inclined to do so.
What's the proof?
Harvard trained psychologist, Charles Alexander, reviewed 19 studies over a 22-year period. In 17 of the studies, there were significant reductions in the use of cigarettes, alcohol and recreational drugs among all age groups, ethnicities and demographics when they practised this technique. The longer people meditated the better the outcomes.
A further study found that Vedic meditation was twice as effective at reducing alcoholism than conventional approaches.
In addition, an 18-month study of alcoholics showed that those who meditated had an abstinence rate of 65%, which was far superior to standard counselling (25%) and other treatments such as Neurotherapy (28%).
Vedic meditation has also been shown to be 250% more effective at reducing anxiety compared with any technique studied. It also has a very powerful effect on sleep, improving sleep disorders by 46%, and improving sleep quality.
I'm feeling so much calmer and more positive and have completely stopped using alcohol as a way to control stress!
Pippa, Teacher, London