Drugs and alcohol are not the source of the problem for an addict. The inability to feel and weather the pains of human emotion are. An addict runs from these emotions by numbing through drugs, alcohol, food and disassociation. Recovery is a process of incorporating many tools in order to help an individual get through painful experiences. Breath work is one tool that has shown profound results for those struggling with addiction.
Breathwork is the act of engaging in full body breathing with the help of a therapist. This mindful breathing does a few powerful things by:
- Stilling the body
- Creating space to feel
- Connecting one to the natural elements
Often addicts are living in so much chaos that they don’t have time to sit down and reflect on their lives. If one isn’t reflective it’s difficult to appreciate joys and take the initiative to address sorrows. By sitting down to breathe, an addict can start to notice some of the emotions and trauma’s they may be holding. Acknowledging pain is necessary to the healing process.
Talk therapy is popular for its ability to logically work through a problem. However, what we often miss is the need to sit through the emotions that go with the painful experiences. When a therapist creates an opportunity for stillness and space the floodgates of emotion are welcomed to open. The release of emotion has been noted to have great power in releasing stored trauma
Many recovering addicts mention that they would drink and use drugs to fill a “God sized hole.” They say that it doesn’t matter how much they consume, the hole is never filled. Breathwork allows for literally connecting the outside air to fill the body. This conscious connection has been reported to be both a comforting spiritual awakening and terrifying. On one hand it can be euphoric because the breath creates a sense of peace and calmness to the nervous system that an addict may have never experienced. On the other hand, it can be terrifying because it is a new sensation of feeling completely filled; for an addict that is used to feeling empty the new sensation can be alarming
Breathwork has been utilized in Eastern cultures in the forms of Yoga, Pranayama, T’ai chi, and Qigong. These practices are done to enhance the body’s energy and aid in the release of old emotions. For those that enjoy breathwork they incorporate these Eastern traditions to maintain their spiritual connection and process their grief. It can be very exciting to discover that by focusing on your breath, and by breathing in certain ways, you can awaken peace and connection within yourself.