Welcome to the third segment of a nine part series on the big areas of life that addiction/alcoholism and recovery can and need to have(for the recovery part)on our life in general. Please go into whatever archives exist on the site you are reading this to find the article from May of this year so you can get caught up on the main four areas. For the sake of bringing some people up to speed and for a quick reminder for those who read last month’s article, the main or fabulous four areas of life are: Physical, Mental, Emotional, Spiritual. Again, see the archives for a detailed breakdown of these areas. This month, we are going to take a closer look at some of the ways that recovery from addiction and alcoholism need to affect the physical part of our life. Of course, there is so much information on this that it would literally take us at least a few years of daily articles to cover it all. Since you have no desire to spend that much time reading and ditto for me typing, we will cover some basics. As with all articles, I encourage you to do as much further research as you can/want on the subject.
How does recovery effect the physical part of our life? In short, addicts and alcoholics take terrible care of their bodies when in active use and addiction. The three main parts of their bodily neglect break down generally speaking, like this, A. Terrible diet. For instance, Taco Bell and Circle K hotdogs twice a day do not give the body what it needs to thrive. B. Lack of proper sleep, either to much or in most cases not nearly enough and certainly not peaceful sleep. And finally, C. Minimal exercise. Running from the police doesn’t count and even die hard workout junkies would have to admit that whatever good they did their body by exercising was quickly muted by their drug or alcohol intake. We could go into more areas here such as the fact that alcohol, by definition a poison, consumed at high volumes literally can ruin your body. As in literally can kill you, but again, we just want to focus on a few parts here. Okay, enough about the bad stuff. Let’s talk about how recovery can help in these areas.
A. Diet. Most any decent treatment center is going to have professional chefs and maybe even nutritionalists who will help clients understand how to read labels, search for healthy foods, and maybe even to cook for themselves. The body naturally wants to eat healthy, positive foods and all recovery modalities whether it be treatment or support meetings, pushes this agenda in a positive way. You may be surprised to hear how many addicts and alcoholics immediately are honest about their negative habits and are eager to create better ways to eat. Plus, a nice side effect is that people in recovery generally get good jobs and are able to afford organic or healthier foods. They start avoiding the 2am drive through and head instead to the health food store. The old saying “you are what you eat” starts to have real meaning when you quit eating drugs and start eating fruits and veggies!
B. Proper Sleep. This is an area that can be a major struggle in early recovery. During and maybe even for a little while after, people may need medications to help them sleep(consult a Dr if you or a loved one is struggling with this, nothing here is even close to medical advice). That’s ok, and normally temporarily. In recovery, the addict learns the benefit of a restful nights sleep and they learn how to help quiet their minds and bodies. Meditation, hot tea, baths, journaling, reading, and many other ideas are shared so people in early recovery can learn the benefits to a great nights sleep. Any healthy person knows, the next day is only as good as the previous nights sleep!
C. Exercise. This one can be a struggle since a lot of addicts and alcoholics tend to drift a bit more to the lazy side, to put it nicely. But it is imperative to learn the positive benefits of exercise. The natural “high” created by the rise in dopamine is worth it alone, not to mention feeling good about yourself and giving your body the treatment that it needs. Any good treatment center or recovery plan will make it a point to teach it’s clientele, sponsees, friends of recovery, whomever, how to embrace exercise and how to learn how to do that. For instance, at the River Source, Yoga and daily gym trips are a part of the scheduled treatment plan. Exercise helps the body and the mind get back on track! The above paragraphs highlight not only some of the benefits or recovery on the body, but really the importance of using a quality treatment center to help introduce a healthy way of living to all in early recovery.
Try to stay cool and have a great summer! We’ll see you next month!