Though now we look at meditation as part of a mindfulness movement that helps in recovery, with work and school stress, anger management, and more. But meditation—regardless of the tradition it comes from—has been around for millennia. There is evidence our earliest human ancestors took care to undertake contemplation on a regular basis.
In other words, you’re in great company with literally billions of people who have integrated a contemplative practice to aid them in navigating life’s grim odds, from the nomadic hunter-gatherer all the way to you, the guy who’s trying to stay sober while attending to all of your modern responsibilities. At times, however, this modern world offers us only short bursts of mindfulness throughout the day. If we’re lucky, we may be able to squeeze out 5-10 minutes a day, and that’s usually just enough time for us to get comfortably in the zone.
Here’s where retreats come in. Lasting from a weekend to three months in some cases, the meditation retreat has a long history and delivers tremendous benefits. Back in the time of the Buddha (roughly 2500 years ago), he and his followers would hike the Ganges river basin, going from village to village spreading the dharma. Because Siddhartha Gautama and his disciples were revered, many village officials would suggest that the Buddha and his followers take refuge in covered forest huts during the monsoon season, which lasted about three months.
In this way, adherents were encouraged to be away from the world and be in touch with their innermost self, engaging with their emotions and analyzing the impermanence of life in the focused environment of the forest retreat. These days, a meditation retreat offers much more in the way of modern convenience, but strips away distractions (electronics, extraneous conversation) and allows for a totally immersive meditation experience.
You may have come back into the world as a “disciple” of sobriety, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve time to reflect and contemplate on what it is you’re actually working through. Contrary to popular belief, retreats don’t necessarily cost an arm and a leg (though they can be pricey) but many free options allow for you to have a retreat of your own at home. There are hundreds of FREE talks and guided meditations at DharmaSeed.org that can be sequenced as if you were attending a three-day retreat.
Give yourself room to breathe. Retreat is not surrender in this case—it is gathering strength and fortitude for the fight.
At Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon we use cutting-edge techniques and holistic individualized programs to help men achieve freedom from addiction and triggering behaviors. Taking a sustainable approach to the inner and outer effects of addiction ensures you or your loved one will emerge with the confidence and skills to manage your addiction independently. No one is beyond help; our Admissions Counselors are available 24/7 at (503) 850-2474