Meditation to help stop drinking


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Meditation to help stop drinking


WE MEDITATE is an online guided meditation course designed to help people stop drinking or take some time away from alcohol by teaching them to release stress and find a new way to relax.

Get started below. If you’ve not signed up for the daily emails from the course, you can do so here.

Day 1 learn to meditate | WE MEDITATE for 31 days of sobriety


Day 1 learn to meditate | WE MEDITATE for 31 days of sobriety


Introduction: A new way to relax

Hi there,

It's funny to think we need to learn to relax – surely it's the most natural thing in the world? In one sense it is, but many of the habits we've developed to relax aren't actually relaxing. Drinking alcohol may bring some relief, but it also causes great stress to our minds and bodies.

Rather than looking to the outside world to distract ourselves with things like drinking and social media, meditation turns our attention inside and allows our minds and bodies to process out stress and truly relax. In this series of guided meditations, you will be led through a set of recordings where you will learn a simple but effective technique that will help you unplug from your day, clear out long held stresses and achieve deep states of relaxation. Over the 15 minute sessions you will learn how to trigger what's known as the relaxation response, a process that allows the mind and body to slow down so that the body the body can naturally rid itself of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and instead replace them with feel good ones like serotonin and dopamine.

Course creator Rory Kinsella, a Sydney-based meditation teacher

Course creator Rory Kinsella, a Sydney-based meditation teacher

This learn to meditate course has been designed for beginners and is specifically tailored to helping people cut down or give up drinking.

You don't need any prior meditation experience and if you've tried other techniques and become frustrated that you couldn't clear your mind, you will be pleasantly surprised by this approach.

In terms of helping you reduce your tendency to drink, this course will take two main approaches.

By teaching you a simple meditation practice, you will remove the root cause stress that may be causing you to drink. And by setting up new neural pathways we will rewire your brain and allow you to more easily break the habit of drinking.

I found meditation when I was going through an early midlife crisis in my mid-30s. Up to that point, I'd heavily relied on alcohol to get me through basically every social situation and regularly used it to relax. The hangovers got worse and worse though and I started to look for other ways to chill out and manage my mental state.

Meditation gave me a new way to unwind, helped my sleep, gave me tons of fresh energy and allowed me to refocus my life. It also allowed me to gradually cut down alcohol to the point in late 2017 when I decided to give up completely and I've happily not had a drink since.

Our desire to change our mental state through alcohol is a positive one – as strange as that may seem. It’s part of our humanity to want to experience different states of consciousness. Alcohol just isn’t a sustainable way to do it. What you will find through this course is that meditation is a sustainable way to do it. If you're a dedicated drinker, like I was, then your dedication to changing your conscious state will make you likely to be dedicated to meditating too. It will allow you to access feel good chemicals like serotonin that drinking does, but without the hangover.

The sessions last for 15 minutes each and you can do them anywhere you can sit quietly with your headphones in. Unlike with some other meditation techniques, this one works best if you're sitting comfortably – in a chair, propped up in bed, on the bus or train, wherever is convenient for you. It works equally well in the morning or evening but try not to do it straight after either food or coffee as they make it harder to settle.

I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Rory

1. Diving in

Many people drink to reduce stress and with less stress in your systems you will have less need for that drink at the end of a hard day. This lesson will show you a simple and powerful technique to help start offloading stress. The less stress you have, the more freedom you’ll have when it comes to decision making. We have thousands of thoughts each day and meditation lets us take a break from them by visiting the deepest, stillest part of our minds where we can un-stress and dip into a deep inner well of energising calm. This meditation will lead you through the basics of a mantra practice, using the mantra “aham”, that will let your mind fall into neutral and find silence.

Find somewhere comfortable to sit with your back supported.

3.5 minute intro, 9.5 minute silent meditation, 2 minute outro, 7mb 

For example: Vocal performance, clarity of concepts, general improvements

Day 2 learn to meditate | WE MEDITATE for 31 days of sobriety


Day 2 learn to meditate | WE MEDITATE for 31 days of sobriety


2. Surfing waves of thoughts

While you approach silence in meditation, you will often find yourself thinking. This meditation will teach you how to surf the waves of thoughts to build confidence in your practice. The modern world overloads you with information which can lead to stress if you don’t have a way to deal with it. Meditation lets your mind move towards a state of rest but it also lets you process the information you’ve taken in. This lesson will show you how to surf the waves of thoughts and teach you what to do when you fall off. This will help develop resilience which will come in useful with your efforts not to drink. With resilience you will be better able to cope with what life throws at you and won't feel the need to turn to the bottle for support or escape.

3 minute intro, 10 minute silent meditation, 2 minute outro, 7mb 

For example: Vocal performance, clarity of concepts, general improvements

Day 3 learn to meditate | WE MEDITATE for 31 days of sobriety


Day 3 learn to meditate | WE MEDITATE for 31 days of sobriety


3. The anchor

It helps to think of the mantra as an anchor for awareness during meditation. Inside your mind you don’t control many things but you do occasionally have control of your awareness and where you direct it. In these moments of clarity where you find yourself in control, it helps to direct your awareness back to the anchor of the mantra. It’s a home point you can keep coming back to whenever you remember to. Continually directing your awareness back to the anchor in meditation opens up new neural pathways in your brain, helping rewire it and leading you away from old habits. 

2 minute intro, 12 minute silent meditation, 1 minute outro, 7mb 

For example: Vocal performance, clarity of concepts, general improvements

Day 4 learn to meditate | WE MEDITATE for 31 days of sobriety


Day 4 learn to meditate | WE MEDITATE for 31 days of sobriety


4. Diving deep

This lesson will explain how the technique allows you to dive deep, below the surface of everyday experience. This will let you catch up on rest, give you more energy and access deeper parts of your consciousness. As you dive into these different parts of consciousness, you escape your regular experience and this helps replace some of that escapism and perhaps oblivion many people seek in alcohol. When you find an outlet for this basic human need in meditation, you no longer need to seek it in alcohol.

2 minute intro, 12 minute silent meditation, 1 minute outro, 7mb 

For example: Vocal performance, clarity of concepts, general improvements

Day 5 learn to meditate | WE MEDITATE for 31 days of sobriety


Day 5 learn to meditate | WE MEDITATE for 31 days of sobriety


5. The subtle art of not trying

We will refine the mantra technique, showing how cultivating an attitude of effortlessness will help you reach deeper states of meditation and give a more satisfying experience. Learning through your practice to be gentle and adaptable will give you greater flexibility in waking life, which will also help break old habits. When you meditate you rewire the brain and allow it to think differently – to find new ways to relax, new ways to cope with social anxieties, new ways to spend and enjoy your free time.

2 minute intro, 12 minute silent meditation, 1 minute outro, 7mb

For example: Vocal performance, clarity of concepts, general improvements

Day 6 learn to meditate | WE MEDITATE for 31 days of sobriety


Day 6 learn to meditate | WE MEDITATE for 31 days of sobriety


6. You get what you need

In this session we will cover how to accept the experience you get in meditation and acknowledge you’re not in control. It’s about letting go and allowing the experience to unfold. Reaching deep states of relaxation during meditation is like falling asleep – if you’re trying to get there you won’t be able to. There’s no bad meditation – whether it’s full of thoughts or deeply relaxing, it’s all beneficial. Through the practice, you learn to control the things you can control – your intensions and reactions – and not mind what we can’t: our thoughts. When you’re more in control of your reactions and have cleared out stress you will find it’s easier to be more positive more of the time, seeing opportunities instead of threats and relying less on the crutches you have used in the past. 

2 minute intro, 12 minute silent meditation, 1 minute outro, 7mb

For example: Vocal performance, clarity of concepts, general improvements

Day 7 learn to meditate | WE MEDITATE for 31 days of sobriety


Day 7 learn to meditate | WE MEDITATE for 31 days of sobriety


7. Recap: What you’ve learned so far

You’ve learned how the mantra lets you dive below the regular surface of awareness. You’ve learned how to surf the waves of thoughts, it helps if you don’t mind when you fall off. With your mantra, “aham”, you have an anchor for your awareness and the more effortlessly you think it, the less you try, the deeper you will dive. Ultimately you have learned that the meditation experience you get is the one you need and not to worry what happens. 

2 minute intro, 12 minute silent meditation, 1 minute outro 

For example: Vocal performance, clarity of concepts, general improvements

Day 8


Day 8


Week 2: Breaking habits, making habits

Congratulations on making it to Week 2!

The first part of a meditation practice is about clearing away stress, anxieties and tiredness. By thinking a mantra instead of following your usual repetitive thoughts patterns, you're reprogramming your brain. You're breaking neural pathways and creating new ones. This will make it much easier for you to change old habits, like drinking, and create new ones, like meditation.

Once you’ve cleared the way – and you will have made a good start in just a week – you're ready to start building up positive qualities that will make you a stronger, more adaptable person with greater reserves of energy and more positivity. This is not a trivial project, you’re building a new you from the ground up. Taking out all the stressed, tired parts and allowing your better qualities to come through.

Now you are beginning to achieve a level of stillness and release the stress, tension and fatigue that hold you back, you're ready to start introducing some intentions to your practice.

Most people can easily last the first week of not drinking, but for some it becomes more challenging in the second week and onwards. For that reason, in Week 2 we will add some intensions to the end of the practice. Your mind is highly receptive to intentions and to a large extent they shape how you respond to events. Your thoughts create the reality around you so what thoughts you think becomes very important. The quiet time at the end of meditation is when your mind is at its most fertile and the perfect time to introduce an intention to carry throughout the day. You will add a new one each day.

What you will be doing is not so much putting these feelings on, but allowing yourself to experience things that are already there if you dig down under the usual mental baggage. Now you have removed the top level of stress and fatigue it will be easier to experience the qualities. Enjoy…

Rory

8. Clear away the old, make room for new

We all carry around mental debris and rubbish in our heads – meditation is a chance to clear all that away. After clearing, we can build on this with new positive qualities. 

3 minute intro, 10 minute silent meditation, 2 minute outro 

For example: Vocal performance, clarity of concepts, general improvements

Day 9


Day 9


9. Create strong foundations

After you’ve cleared away the old you can start building new foundations on your inner strength and contentedness. 

3 minute intro, 10 minute silent meditation, 2 minute outro 

For example: Vocal performance, clarity of concepts, general improvements

Day 10


Day 10


10. Build

To be fulfilled you don’t to need to look for things to go a certain way in the outside world. By accessing the deepest parts of yourself through meditation you can find a source of fulfilment on the inside, which you can then share with the world.  

3 minute intro, 10 minute silent meditation, 2 minute outro 

For example: Vocal performance, clarity of concepts, general improvements

Day 11


Day 11


11. Stay on track

While it’s nice to meditate every once in a while, to get the real benefits you need to keep at it, day in day out. This lesson will show you how by practising you will trigger the brain’s natural chemistry and develop reserves of resilience.  

3 minute intro, 10 minute silent meditation, 2 minute outro 

For example: Vocal performance, clarity of concepts, general improvements

Day 12


Day 12


12. No judgement

You meditate to get good at life, not to get good at meditation. Instead of judging how your meditation is going by how it feels during the session, instead gauge things by how you’re feeling during the rest of the day. This session will focus on your growing sense of calm.

3 minute intro, 10 minute silent meditation, 2 minute outro 

For example: Vocal performance, clarity of concepts, general improvements

Day 13


Day 13


13. Remain flexible

Rather than holding expectations about your meditation experience, instead try to be open and not mind what happens. Whether it's thinking lots of thoughts or having deep experiences, it's working towards a more relaxed version of you. With that, you will find yourself more flexible.  

3 minute intro, 10 minute silent meditation, 2 minute outro 

For example: Vocal performance, clarity of concepts, general improvements

Day 14


Day 14


14. Be nice to yourself

From strength, happiness, fulfilment, resilience, calm and flexibility you will move onto the last and possibly most important of our qualities – compassion. 

3 minute intro, 10 minute silent meditation, 2 minute outro 

For example: Vocal performance, clarity of concepts, general improvements