Category Archives: Healthy Living

Drink Up! How Water Can Boost Your Recovery


Recovery is more than stopping the use of drugs and alcohol. This is a time for the body to repair itself. To accomplish this, recovering addicts must focus on eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet that consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and lean meats. However, many people forget the importance of hydration. 

Keeping the body hydrated is crucial, as it can boost recovery and speed up healing times. Let’s learn more about the role that water plays in the recovery process.

Why Dehydration is a Major Health Problem

Water is essential for the body to function. The human body is made up of 65 percent water, which is needed for various processes and reactions such as circulation, metabolism, body temperature and waste removal. If the body doesn’t have enough water, these physiological processes can be impaired. 

Unfortunately, many people spend their days dehydrated. According to a recent study, more than half of American children are dehydrated and one-quarter do not drink water on a regular basis. Adults are no better. A 2013 report from CBS found that up to 75 percent of Americans may suffer from chronic dehydration.

Signs of Dehydration

Once the body has lost 1 to 2 percent of its water content, it sends a signal to make you feel thirsty. By the time thirst kicks in, the body is already dehydrated. Here are some of the signals that the body needs water.

  • Fatigue

  • Dizziness

  • Muscle cramps

  • Poor concentration

  • Mood swings

  • Bad breath

  • Infrequent urination

  • Chills

  • Joint pain

  • Constipation

  • Headache

Water’s Role in Recovery

Being dehydrated can lead to hunger cravings, in particular, sugar cravings. Managing these cravings is imperative during early recovery, as they can be mistaken for drug cravings. Keeping the body hydrated gives the body an extra layer of protection against relapse.

Water also plays an important role during detoxification. Proper hydration helps the body be efficient during detox and withdrawal, as it flushes toxins out the digestive and urinary systems. With the removal of harmful toxins, cravings are reduced. Also, proper water intake helps the body’s cells revert to their normal state.

Summing it Up

Eating a balanced diet is one of the best things you can do for your body in early recovery, but don’t overlook the importance of staying hydrated. Water is best, but fruit juices, flavored water and tea are good choices as well. You can also get water by filling out your diet with broths and soups and drinking water with each meal.

Drunk Driving on Halloween

Coffee art

Did you know that fatal drunk driving crashes are more likely to happen on Halloween than New Year’s Eve? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), fatal crashes involving a drunk driver are three times more likely to take place on October 31 than New Year’s Eve.

NHTSA statistics also point out that between 2009 and 2013 on Halloween night, 43 percent of all motor vehicle deaths involved alcohol. In 2013, 26 percent of all pedestrian fatalities on Halloween involved a drunk driver as well. If the holiday falls on a weekend, the numbers are even higher because people often drink for several hours or more.  

Halloween is Growing in Popularity

Halloween has been gaining popularity over the years, with people of all ages throwing costume parties and dressing up. Many of these costume parties are elaborate and include scary decorations, games, appetizers and alcohol. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the hype surrounding Halloween and the dangerous people that can be on the roads.

Tips for Being Safe on Halloween

There is no excuse to get in a car after drinking. Between public transportation and car riding services like Lyft or Uber, there are plenty of ways to get home safely. Here are a few tips to share with friends and family.

Don’t Drink and Drive

This might sound like common knowledge, but the statistics prove that far too many people don’t listen. In 2015, over 10,000 people died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes – that’s about one every hour. This does not include the tens of thousands of other people who have been hurt or permanently disabled.

Avoid Distraction

Between glitter, fake blood, hair dye and bulky costumes, there are plenty of distractions that can get you into trouble on Halloween. Distracted driving accounted for over 387,000 injuries in 2011. Even if your costume isn’t distracting, it’s likely that a car full of other people dressed up will be. If this is the case, opt for public transportation instead.

Don’t Text and Drive

If you’re trying to coordinate several Halloween parties, make your arrangements in advance and stay off the phone while driving. If it’s urgent, pull over and text, or let one of your passengers handle the messaging. Remember, it’s not just cars to pay attention to on Halloween but pedestrians as well.

Halloween is meant to be spooky and fun, but don’t let alcohol ruin the day!

Enjoy a Sober Labor Day with These 5 Mocktails

Limes and strawberries

Labor Day is here! It’s the last hurrah before the unofficial end of summer. As a recovering alcoholic, it’s normal to have some reservations about attending a Labor Day party. Because everyone is different, always discuss your options with a counselor, addiction specialist or AA sponsor.

Depending on where you are in your recovery, it might be best to throw your own sober party. If you do think you’re ready to be with friends, bring along a mocktail. Having something fun to drink will take attention off you. If you have a drink in hand, you don’t need to be asked if you want one!

Here are five of our favorite mocktail recipes that will make your sober Labor Day celebrations a blast!

  1. Pretty Pink Punch (Taste of Home)

We love this recipe because it’s super simple to make – and it looks lovely for a summer party. Once you gather the ingredients, dissolve the sugar in water. Add the juices and lemonade and mix well. The last part is to stir in the ginger ale, which you can do right before serving. If you would like, add fresh lemon slices. Delicious! Get the full recipe here.

  1. Non-Alcoholic Sangria (Tablespoon)

Sangria is a popular beverage for summer parties because it’s refreshing and elegant! This recipe for non-alcoholic sangria is beautiful thanks to the large pieces of fruit. To start, simply fill a pitcher with juice, sparkling water and ginger ale. Next, add in the fruit slices which include kiwi, oranges, star fruit, limes and cranberries. Serve the drink immediately or let it chill. See how it’s done here.

  1. White After Labor Day (Kristi Dukoff of Gracie’s)

This is another easy, tasty recipe that even the kids can have! Simply mix and strain the ingredients – bottled water, tea syrup, lemon juice, white peach puree and lavender. This recipe isn’t difficult to make, but the ingredients involve a deeper search. Have fun with it, and if you can’t find lavender, garnish the drink with lemon instead. Get the recipe at

  1. Caramel Apple Pie Mocktail (Mary About Town)

With fall just around the corner, a caramel apple pie mocktail is fitting! This recipe is a bit more involved than our other recipes but so worth it! Start by mixing the apple cider with caramel syrup and cinnamon. Cut the apples into slices and add them to the pitcher, along with rosemary sprigs. After 20 minutes, pour in the sparkling water and rim the glass edges with golden brown sugar. Pour in the drink and voila! Get the recipe here.

  1. Lemon Ice Tea Mix (Taste of Home)

Lemon ice tea mix is great for large crowds because it’s inexpensive and simple to make. All you need is sugar, unsweetened instant tea and unsweetened lemonade soft drink mix. In fact, you can store the drink mix in an airtight container for up to 6 months! Add fresh lemon wedges if you desire. For the full recipe, click here.

The River Source team wishes you a safe, sober and healthy Labor Day!

Putting Together a Meal Plan for Addiction Recovery

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Introducing healthy eating during an addiction treatment program is not an easy task. Recovering addicts are going through so many changes, they often aren’t open to starting a new diet plan. However, as we all know, addicts cannot continue eating the same foods they’ve been relying on. Their bodies are likely depleted, malnourished and possibly even damaged. Healthy eating should be a priority.

Why Nutrition is Important

Sometimes, families feel that it’s too much to ask their loved one to give up the foods they enjoy while getting sober. However, giving recovering addicts full access to chips, cookies and crackers can be dangerous. High fat, salty and sweet foods are easy to binge on. The brain doesn’t heal on these types of foods, putting a recovering addict at a higher risk for relapse.

We’re not suggesting that all “comfort foods” should be eliminated. We realize that it’s enjoyable to have a handful of chips or a couple of cookies after dinner. The key is to keep these foods in moderation and start introducing nutritious options such as nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Recovering addicts may also benefit from a multivitamin that can help them restore their body. However, please be aware that vitamins do not replace the need to eat healthy foods.

Sample Meal Plan

To help recovering addicts and their families, we like to put together sample meal plans. This makes it easier to visualize the types of meals that can be served in the home. It’s easier than you think – and your loved one will learn to enjoy these foods! In fact, this may be an opportunity for everyone in the family to get healthier!

Always focus on well-rounded meals that include plenty of fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains and protein. Your loved one should get most of their antioxidants, vitamins and minerals from food.

  • Breakfast: Fruit smoothie with mixed berries, Greek yogurt, flaxseed and almond milk.

  • Morning snack: Whole grain slice of toast with almond butter and hard boiled egg.

  • Lunch: Plate of raw veggies topped with grilled chicken and a side of bean soup.

  • Afternoon snack: Piece of fresh fruit, string cheese or a handful of nuts.

  • Dinner: Quinoa, salmon, cooked vegetable and green salad.

  • Snack: Bowl of frozen sherbet topped with pine nuts.

The key is not to rush anything in early recovery. It will take time to adjust to all the changes, including eating healthy. Focus on what can be eaten, not the foods that can’t. Eating the right foods should never feel like a punishment. Instead, it should be a complementary part of a healthy and satisfying recovery process.

Early Recovery: Keeping Busy Over the Summer

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Some recovering addicts find that summer is the toughest season to stay sober. It could be the number of cookouts and drinking that goes on. Or the long, lazy weekends on the water. It could also be the surge in energy that so many of us feel during the summer months. If you are new to recovery, there are ways to stay sane and avoid the nostalgic feeling of past summers.

Stay Connected to People

One of the greatest things about summer is the connection to our friends. Many of us use this time to catch up with friends and family. Building a schedule around other people allows you to soak in what summer is all about.

The nice thing about recovering in today’s world is that you don’t have to rely on friends and family only. With access to online support groups, chat rooms, social media pages and other communities, you are never alone. Look for local groups in your area that you can join, or talk to members in your 12 step group about their interests.

Plan a Summer Getaway

Another part of summer is taking vacations. People love planning and talking about them, and there’s no reason why you have to feel left out. Nowhere did it ever say that recovering addicts are too fragile to take a getaway. As long as you’re smart about where you go and who you go with, a vacation may be just the thing to lift your spirits!

Sober cruises and retreats are among the vacations you can take. Or, plan something with your sober friends and family. Camping and outdoor activities let you connect with nature and learn more about yourself. Visiting a small town and learning about its history can provide you with a new perspective.

Volunteer Your Time

If you need more activities to keep you busy, check out the volunteer opportunities in your community. Food pantries, women’s shelters, humane societies and more all welcome help and support from those in the community. You can meet new people, better understand your place in society and feel good about your work toward helping others. Volunteering is one of the most constructive ways to fill your time.

Stay Active in Your Community

Many communities offer a wide range of activities that residents can enjoy for little to no cost. Check out your local library and park district. Many offer movie nights in the park, late night swims, free training sessions, 5K walks, literature camps and more. This way, you can explore a wide range of activities, learn more about your community and meet new people.

It’s normal to feel some apprehension toward the summer. It’s a long season that includes unique triggers. Don’t get discouraged. Follow your continuing care plan, stay active with activities and spend extra time with those close to you. Before you know it, you will have a wonderful, sober summer in the books!

Nutrition Tips for Newly Recovering Addicts

When our addiction specialists meet new patients for the first time, we aren’t just concerned with the drugs and alcohol they have been consuming. We also want to know what food they have been consuming.

A nutrition screening is important because it provides insight into the addict’s nutrition habits. Has their addiction impaired them to the point that they don’t cook food and feed themselves? Has the addict lost or gained weight in the last few months without trying?

Depending on what we find during the nutrition screening, we may recommend that the patient sees one of our nutritionists, a physician or both. In some cases, addicts who are in poor health may need to see a physician to have lab work done. This way, we can determine what vitamins and supplements are needed to restore nutrients in the body.

Nutrition Tips for Early Recovery

There’s no specific diet that is recommended for recovering drug and alcohol addicts. A healthy diet that consists of protein, vegetables and fruits and whole grain breads and cereals is sufficient for most individuals. Recovering addicts must take care of their health because it helps them maintain sobriety.

Here are a few nutrition tips for newly recovering addicts.

Establish a Routine

It’s important for recovering addicts to eat at regular times. This prevents the body from feeling hungry, which could lead to a craving for drugs or alcohol. Additionally, depression is a common issue in early recovery. Eating regular meals can prevent mood swings and protect sobriety.

Avoid Sugar

Sugar may look good and taste good, but it’s the complete opposite of healthy. Sugar can be just as addictive as other substances, and it can start a cycle of blood sugar levels spiking and dropping. This is not good for the body, and it may lead to mood swings and feelings of depression.

Limit Caffeine

Newly recovering addicts should limit their caffeine intake to one cup a day. Like sugar, caffeine is addictive and can cause spikes and drops in mood and energy levels. Protect lifelong sobriety by limiting caffeine and choosing other drinks like flavored water or tea.

Choose Digestible Foods

Stick to foods that your body can digest easily. The key is to go easy on the digestive system until it’s able to regain normal functioning. Good foods include oatmeal, rice and fresh fruits and vegetables. These foods have high fiber contents and can alleviate constipation, diarrhea and nausea.

Get Vitamins and Minerals

An addict’s body is usually severely malnourished, and newly recovering addicts are almost always deficient in Vitamin B and D. A physician can determine what vitamins and minerals are needed to rejuvenate the body. As effective as vitamin therapy can be, there is no replacement for a healthy diet.

Are you ready to start your recovery? Call The River Source today. We have a full staff of counselors, nutritionists and naturopathic doctors that can jumpstart a healthy recovery.