The Sobriety Project: Calming the Tempest

In the past I often used alcohol to try and calm my mind. I let worries and negative thoughts gain momentum, creating a tempest of anxiety. Once I stopped drinking, the worry and negativity remained. I needed to find an AF way to calm my mind.

For months I’ve researched addiction recovery. Every path included a mind calming activity, often meditation. At first, meditation seemed like a waste of time. Then I realized how many similar activities were already part of my life. During high school cross-country, warm ups included preparing our minds for the race, visualizing the course. Prayer is another form of mediation. Even goal setting is similar, awareness of a current situation while organizing the steps to reach the next destination.

Meditation taught me how to be more aware, more aware of my surroundings, breathing, and thoughts. Now I often catch negative thoughts, building steam. Most of the time, merely noticing this thought pattern begins the process of slowing down and refocusing. I also learned the value of pausing and observing things “just as they are, for now.”

My first attempt at meditation was a train wreck! Sitting still in silence for three minutes only increased the thought process:

Did I thaw something for dinner…

Did Gandhi meditate every day…

That robe he wore looks comfortable…

My foot’s falling asleep…

While challenging at first, over time, meditation provided a path to calmness. Racing thoughts were slowly replaced by observing my surroundings: Listening to breath, the softness of the carpet, the pleasant warmth of the sun through the window, acknowledging the frequent discomfort in my lower back…Daily sessions eventually increased to twenty minutes (On hectic days I commit to at least 3-5 minutes.).

If I were to begin this process again, I recommend guided meditation instead of sitting in silence. Insight Timer offers a useful starting point. This free app allows users the option of meditating in silence or listening to guided meditation. There are several 1-3 minute meditations that can be done anywhere, waiting in the car, those minutes we always seem to have in our “hurry up and wait” world. If you struggle with racing thoughts and anxiety, try to work 3-5 minutes of meditation into each day this week. Hopefully you too will find calm.

Thanks for reading!

6 Comments

    1. Chad and I are a few weeks into a book called “Mindfulness” by Williams and Penman, an eight week course with on-line guided meditation. Some chapters explore challenging life moments-tough but seeing positive results.

  1. God bless you Maggie sweetheart! This is terrific guidance especially for those many men and women struggling quietly and wondering how far public they should go. Your happy musings will add good to all our lives.

  2. Thank you for this most. I’ve been struggling with sleep lately and a restless mind. I think I need to get back into a meditation routine.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post! I’ve noticed if more than a day passes without time for meditation, my sleep suffers, too. It’s amazing how just a few minutes of meditation makes such a big difference.

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