Taking a Whole Body/Whole Life Approach to Recovery

 rehabMany people know the hardest part of addiction is acknowledging that you have a problem. A very close second is the initial recovery.

The experts at Hotel California by the Sea, a leading men's rehab facility, stress that addiction recovery requires a multi-pronged approach that goes beyond counseling. Addiction is a complex problem that is emotional, mental and physical all at once. In order to overcome addiction, a whole life approach is needed to address all the factors that are feeding the problem as well as the stressors that come with it.


Create an Exercise Regimen

Exercise is a proven stress relief strategy, and some addictions can cause significant strain on the body. For these reasons, more organizations are making exercise part of their rehab program. Starting an exercise regimen will reposition your focus on something positive that you have control over. It also helps addicts address the damage they have done to their bodies so that they make healthy living a new priority.


Another beneficial aspect of exercise is that when we feel better about our bodies it helps us have a more positive outlook on life overall. It keeps you psychologically and physically ready to handle stress, anxiety and all the other side effects of recovery.


Spend Time Reading and Writing

Reading is a serious stress reliever. A study from Mindlab International at the University of Sussex found that in as little as six minutes, reading reduced stress by 68%. Even better is the fact that it doesn’t matter what kind of reading material is used. The simple act of reading serves as an escape that distracts you from stressors in the real world.


Writing can also be very therapeutic, whether it’s a daily journal, essays, poetry or a novel. People in recovery are often encouraged to explore their thoughts and feelings through writing. Both constructive and cathartic, getting your thoughts on paper can help you make sense of the emotions you are feeling and the things that are creating stress in your life.


Practice Mindful Meditation

Meditation is a natural stress reliever that has proven time and time again to help calm the mind and body. Practicing mindful meditation can:


  • ·  Bring clarity regarding the issues that trigger your addiction.
  • ·  Help you let go of negative thoughts and feelings.
  • ·  Reveal what you are holding onto that’s keeping you connected to your addiction.
  • ·  Help you make conscious choices to reject addictive behaviors.
  • ·  Regulate and improve mood and emotions.
  • ·  Lower levels of cortisol (stress hormone).
  • ·  Improve temperament by creating new neural networks in the brain.
  • ·  Increase your ability to concentrate and set aside distractors.
  • ·  Promote inner peace and optimism.
  • ·  Help control and direct thoughts to overcome cravings.
  • ·  Relax the body and ease tension.

Focused breathing, yoga and prayer are all forms of mindful meditation that can be used to overcome an addiction.


Find a Social Support Network

The addict has to want to recover, but they need a solid support system to make that happen. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic say that the importance of a social support network can’t be overstated. Family members and friends that are there during the good times and the bad play a vital role in helping an addict recover. These are the relationships that are developed outside of your stressful circumstances. They provide a sense of comfort and security that can make recovery seem like a possibility rather than a pipe dream.


Create a Reward System

Recovery is hard work that shouldn’t go unrewarded. Just like any other goal, you should work in healthy rewards whenever a milestone is hit. For example, after being seven days sober have a movie night with a few close friends to celebrate. Acknowledging the progress with a reward system serves as extra motivation that can help you stay on track. 


Addiction ends only after you decide to make life changes. Those life changes won’t always be easy and there will be a lot of stress along the way. By acknowledging your addiction, surrounding yourself with supportive people and focusing on new, more positive pursuits you can get through recovery and on to your new life.


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