Mindful Meditation… An Alternative Approach To Helping Addicts

An alternative approach that can be effective and cost efficient that incorporates metaphysical thought is meditation. Witkiewitz, Marlatt, & Walker (2005)postulate that there is a cognitive behavioral technique called mindful meditation and it can be used as a cost-effective adjunct or as a stand alone to the treatment of addiction disorders and intend to show the validity of the use of mediation for treating some forms of addiction.



Cognitive-Behavioral Relapse prevention is one of the most widely successful treatments for both addictive and non-addictive disorders. Through the combination of behavioral skills training and cognitive interventions, relapse prevention is designed to limit the occurrence of relapse episodes. There have been few studies that have examined the underlying reason CBT effects more long-term change.


It has been commonly thought that CBT develops coping skills producing better self efficacy and motivational change. Self monitoring has long been an accepted method for many types of disorders to increase self efficacy and coping skills. Sometimes called skillful means, being mind or wise mind self monitoring skills may not be enough to alter the monitored behavior. This suggests a core construct that ties increased attention and focus in the present moment to a behavior and the systematic change of that behavior provided there is acceptance of that behavior with nonjudgmental understanding.


Mindful Mediation embraces just this thought. Shown to be highly effective in pain management and reducing anxiety and depression, mindful meditation or attention control is a metacognitive skill requiring attention to the present moment through a detached awareness, when a person changes the relationship, content and attitude towards their thoughts, feelings and sensations. Witkiewitz, Marlatt, & Walker (2005) recruited (n=306) to participate in a 10 day Vipassana meditation course which is rooted in Buddhist principles where meditation is described as going beyond the self and moving toward spiritual enlightenment. Clients that did not want to participate were given the option of participation in a support group or social skills training.


The results showed that both the control and the mediation group showed large improvements in decreasing frequency and quantity of drinking with only 17.9% of the meditation group and 26.8% of the control group having more than 3 drinks a week after 90 days. Further, significant time by interactions over a three-month period was found on the Vipassana group using the alcohol abuse severity test. These results are encouraging for the possible use of meditation as an alternative form of relapse prevention but would need to be used on specific populations in specific environments. Through this research, the benefits of meditation in the treatment of alcohol seem to hold up. This further demonstrates that a connection with the higher self through meditation is a valuable tool and a legitimate treatment approach for therapists and spiritual counselors.

Image: photstock/freedigitalphotos.net


Dr. Lewis Jordan has over 20 years experience in psychotherapy, counseling, education and public speaking. Dr. Lewis Jordan’s Psychotherapy ServicesFlorida therapy offices for Therapy & Neurofeedback Services are located in various locations throughout South Florida as well as offices in New York City and South Carolina.  Please click here for Dr. Lewis Jordan’s current Educational Videos

Please visit this site regularly http://www.JordanTherapy.com and http://www.LewisJamesJordan.com for more information and updates.  

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