Principles Of A Holistic Recovery From Addiction
The recovery process is a lifelong endeavor that can be extremely challenging. Even after you are post-detox, clean, sober, and no longer participating in inpatient treatment, you still have a tremendous amount of work to do.
In other words, you’ve learned the coping skills and how to avoid and deal with triggers. You are still in therapy or going to counseling and attended group therapy or 12-step meetings. You are leaning on your support system, including your family. But in addition to all of this, fostering your mental health and wellness may key to keeping you on the right path.
Keep Your Head UP And Think Positive
You may have to remind yourself that recovery from addiction is an ongoing process, and the road isn’t always going to be smooth. You can prepare yourself and maintain your sense of well-being with pep talks to keep yourself motivated. Positive self-talk is a great place to start.
During the recovery process, you must also learn how to forgive yourself. Now that you are back in the real word facing life without substances, you are bound to encounter old thoughts and emotions that have long since been buried beneath your addiction.
When these feelings rise to the surface, you will have to deal with them, and this is where your coping skills will truly be put to the test.
Rest And Nutrition Are Critical
Addiction puts a tremendous amount of stress on the body. Getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and drinking lots of water are all holistic behaviors you should adopt if you truly intend to be at your best.
In general, your body needs to be restored mentally and physically – and that may take time. You need to heal both inside and out – and the wellness habits that you adopt now are going to determine how much you heal, and how long it takes.
Exercise is extremely beneficial for mood, as it increases endorphins and feelings of well-being. Most people can engage in some type of physical activity, even if it’s just power-walking or low-impact aerobic exercise. You don’t have to be fit overnight, but working toward a fitness goal is a fantastic idea for both your mental and physical wellness.
Keep in mind, you don’t have to run a 5k just yet – but you may want to consider it an option in the future…
Unfortunately, some people recovering from addiction to painkillers may have initiated the habit for reasons associated with chronic pain. For those persons, it is still important to stay as active as possible.
Even if moderate physical activity cannot be achieved, picking up hobbies and interests, such as painting or doing puzzles can still be of great mental benefit and can help keep your mind distracted from unwanted thoughts.
People who suffer from chronic pain, such as fibromyalgia or arthritis need integrated pain management that does not involve addictive painkillers. Seek a pain clinic or pain specialist to develop a holistic program for treating pain.
Such programs often include the use of non-opioid painkillers, such as ibuprofen or TENS devices. Also, depending on the condition, physical therapy, chiropractic services, and massive therapy are options that can help reduce pain and increase feelings of well-being.
Consider volunteer work or joining local organizations, and get behind a cause. Work or take classes at a community center. Or help others in the journey to recovery from addiction by spreading awareness and becoming an advocate for improved prevention and treatment of addiction.
Most people who suffer from substance use disorders do not receive treatment for one reason or another – very often because they fear stigma or that treatment is inaccessible. You can get involved by starting or joining a local group that advocates for and reaches out to help people with addiction.
Whatever your belief (or non-belief) there are many great approaches to engaging in some level of spirituality, even if it’s just focusing on the mind-body connection.
For the religious, attending church services and related functions can foster a sense of community, social ties, and purpose. This is true whether you are a Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist or of any religious affiliation.
For those who do better away from organized religion, meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, and other techniques that foster the mind-body connection can be of great help.
These approaches can increase relaxation and offer a great “time-out” when confronted with stress and the temptation to return to substance use.
Take Time For Yourself
Whatever approaches you chose to create a holistic platform for your recovery from addiction, remember that in many ways, you must put yourself first.
I say this because many people with addiction are accused of being selfish and putting themselves ahead of others – and this may be true. However, if you can exert the amount of self-importance that you exhibited as an addict, think how far you could go with your recovery from addiction and reestablishment of self-worth?
As a recovering addict, yes, you will have other obligations to work, family, and friends. But you need to take time each day to remember that this is your journey – and you will only get out of it what you put into it. You ARE worth the effort.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology