Vol-19 Ask Frank, today is my first day clean…

Q. I am a drug user and extremely nervous for today, not really sure what to expect. I relapsed and went on a 2-week Xanax bender taking anywhere from .5-4mg a day, I decided to do a somewhat quick taper, which I know many people don’t agree with. I was able to drop my dose very quickly in my taper it took about 2 weeks.  I feel okay besides some depression and anxiety, like I said I am very nervous and do not really know what to expect, will meditating help at all? Will I be, okay? What should I expect? All kind words are very much appreciated.


Mediation can be a very strong tool used properly in your recovery. I strongly recommend you join AA which can give you incredible support. I am a recovering alcoholic who found AA was a great assist to my recovery and I met numerous recovering drug users in the program as well. I am also a long-term mediator. AA uses surrender in their approach, they don’t call it that, but they use terms like “let go and let God.” Surrender is a well-respected centuries old spiritual action plan for dealing with crisis. They do not promote any religious affiliation but strongly encourage working with you Higher Power to stay sober. If you are connected to a religion that is fine also with AA. You can also read my blogs on surrender to learn more about it.

 AA offers support, encouragement, an extraordinary sharing platform, camaraderie, encouragement, and real-world daily advice. One of the first things you learn is to take it one day at a time and many parcel that day into hours. With most addictions it takes a few months to detox and move away from the actual physical addiction at least in the case of alcoholics. The body can be screaming for a fix or a drink causing incredible anxiety and stress in the early stage of recovery 

I lost my ability to do long or deep meditations and finally my ability to meditate at all for most of the year before I joined AA. Getting my practice back was frankly one of the overarching reasons I joined. Alcohol was interfering in my life in so many other ways but the loss of the connection to my higher-self felt like I was suffering from grief. My best longtime friend had died or at least was in a coma and I could not talk to or communicate with it.

As the physical withdrawal receded in the first few weeks, I was able to do short meditations of a few minutes a few times a day, but they were less than satisfying. They were not the long investigative style or feeling love and gratitude type I so looked forward to, but they were a start to reclaiming some discipline. While I was worried, I would never recover my meditative skills, I totally reacquired them within a few months.

I found I no longer needed the meetings for support. I had all the support I needed with my practice. I have been able to reprogram those things that were at the subconscious level and were foundational to my alcoholism. I have no desire or thoughts of alcohol and it is not a distraction for me in any way now. For more on this I have written about it in my book The Road to Peak Meditation Experiences. I share what I call the Great downturn that turned my life upside down. A note here I am not advocating giving up AA once your meditation practice kicks in.

The people I saw firsthand who had the greatest success in recovery were the ones who had a deep compassion for others and were often, but not always, sponsors to other recovering alcoholics. Most had well established meditation practices or were participating members of a religious community and still attended AA meetings.

You will always be a drug addict and I will always be an alcoholic. Attend meetings at least until you get a good base under yourself. In the meantime, meditate, meditate, meditate. Learn, understand, and practice the concept of spiritual surrender.

You can prevail over the pain and agony it has brought into your life by recognizing that this is a lesson and what you can learn from it will change your life for the better. Learn to be in the flow or in the NOW and accept life on life’s terms as they say in AA. From my heart I send you my deepest blessings. Good luck.

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