Ever since I was a teenager, smoking and drinking were the perfect things to take me away from the pressure, stress, and angst of growing up in a small town with not much else to do.
Back then, drinking and smoking were the only things that could quiet my racing mind. They got me out of my head and gave me the pleasure and courage I was seeking.
Why Do We Use Addictive Substances?
Like anyone else who drinks and smokes too much knows, the pleasure was always followed by pain: coughing fits, hangovers, and blacked-out nights full of dumb decisions and stupid mistakes.
Drinking and smoking were not making me truly happy. They were merely the easiest way to temporarily dull my senses so that I couldn’t notice the real cause of my suffering.
Drinking and smoking were quick fixes to bring me below the conscious mind and into an unconscious stupor. I was always a jovial and kind fella, but I wasn’t truly happy. I was chasing happiness, and these were the ways that I knew of to temporarily experience happiness.
At the time, I really didn’t know why I smoked or drank. If you had asked me, I would have said, “Because I like it.” I just thought life was meant to be lived and to have as much fun as possible. What I didn’t really consider is that I wasn’t living, I was killing myself.
When you live in New York City in your 20s, going out and drinking every night is pretty common. What’s uncommon is blacking out almost every single night. Luckily, like most New Yorkers, I didn’t have a car and so there were very few consequences.
Then, during a trip back to my hometown, I was driving back to my parent’s house from a bar late one night after only having three drinks but on an empty stomach, and I had a minor crash in my mom’s brand new car. I had fallen asleep at a red light. When I woke up, I saw the car had rolled off the road and into a tree.
I called my parents to come to get me and they were PISSED. I quickly realized that I had two choices: keep drinking and they would be pissed at me for the rest of my life, or quit drinking and they would be thrilled to no end. Up until then, they had wanted me to quit drinking for a long time but I always brushed it off as them just being parents who just don’t understand.
This time was different. If my continued drinking of alcohol would cause a rift in the family, then drinking would no longer make me happy. If getting blacked out regularly was the result of my drinking, that’s not joy. Why was I even drinking?!
Choosing to Quit
I made a conscious decision then and there to turn this terrible experience into the moment day in my life. I decided that this moment would be my rock bottom and I was going to quit drinking forever. But how?
There was no method for quitting drinking with a very high success rate. Most people who went through treatment programs experienced multiple relapses and I didn’t want to do that.
I had learned to meditate in my late teens, but my excessive drinking and smoking made it practically impossible to continue my daily meditation practice.
It’s much more tempting to light up or have a drink to feel better than it is to sit with your thoughts for 20 or 30 minutes. And it’s impossible to meditate at night when you’ve been drinking and it’s even harder to do it in the morning when you’re hungover. But now, I figured, was the perfect time to get back into it. I committed to quit drinking and smoking with meditation.
The Road to Recovery
From that day forth, I began meditating for 20 minutes twice a day. When I got back to New York, I got a counselor who specialized in addiction who I met with once a week. It was the counselor who reminded me that I’d wrecked a car whenever I had urges to drink. But it was the meditation that gave me inner peace and lasting joy so that I no longer needed to drink.
It was during my meditation that I had plenty of time to reflect and meditate on my smoking as well. It doesn’t take much self-reflection that these crutches cause stress, they don’t relieve it.
As the buzz wears off, you quickly need more, or else you’re in for subtle withdraws that consume your thoughts and urge you to have another. Like drinking, smoking is an endless money pit of stress, disease, and misery that distracts you from the true source of happiness.
After meditating for six months, my cravings for both were completely gone and I stopped seeing my counselor. I haven’t had a craving for either in over 10 years. Meditation to quit drinking and smoking was the best decision.
Thanks to meditation, I see both drinking and smoking with great clarity—as addictive poisons that rob us of our higher intelligence. And it was surprisingly easy!
What Meditation Showed Me
Meditation showed me that lasting peace and bliss comes from within, not from fleeting external pleasures. It just takes one conscious breath to let go of any stress and tension, and to feel a deep and abiding calm, joy, and gratitude. I see clearly now the insanity of throwing away money to slowly kill myself. All I was doing was delaying myself from finding the true source of happiness.
The Key to True Happiness
Now, feeling good naturally is what I chase. I eat healthy organic food as much as possible, work out regularly, and spend more time in nature. And most importantly, I still meditate twice a day. Thanks to quitting, my work is better, my sleep is better, my relationships are better and my life is infinitely better. I can vouch for the fact that meditation to quit drinking and smoking is the best way to sobriety.
I continued going to bars to be with my friends. However, I’ll enjoy my sparkling water with a splash of lime and lemon. I still hang out with friends who smoke, although from a slight distance as the smell has become unappealing to me.
The Cause of Addiction
All addiction stems from general unhappiness and unfulfillment in our lives. We then turn to a substance or behavior to try to fill this spiritual hole in our hearts. But nothing will fill this hole because the answer doesn’t lie outside of ourselves. We must turn inward and heal ourselves, fill that hole with love and gratitude, peace, and presence. Using meditation to quit drinking and smoking let us heal from within.
How Meditation Can Cure Addiction
Meditation retrains the mind and body to relax and become peaceful. This age-old technique, which is being proven to be effective at treating addiction in dozens of scientific peer-reviewed studies, is the most powerful tool we have to raise our consciousness, heal the body, and clear the mind.
While drugs and alcohol take us to a place below the mind, meditation elevates us beyond the mind. Our highest intelligence, consciousness, and awareness become activated.
We expand our consciousness and our unconscious habitual thinking becomes diminished. We become more mindful of our actions and we stop doing the things that create needless suffering and misery in our lives.
Helping Others Through Meditation
Today, I find the greatest joy in helping others quit their addictions. After taking our Meditation for Beginners Course and attending a few Spiritual Counseling sessions, many people have been able to have the same success quitting drinking and smoking that I have.
Meditation is easy, effective, and it is the only method for getting to the root of the problem. All problems stem from a spiritual problem (when I use the word “spiritual” here, what I really mean is a person’s psychological well being), and meditation can give each of us the wisdom, the insights, the bliss, and tranquility to make the best decisions for ourselves and others.
If you’re struggling with any kind of addiction or know someone who is, please call or text us at (502) 276-6335, or email us at [email protected]. We wish you or your loved one great luck and success on your journey to recovery.