The Five Fundamentals of Addiction Recovery

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Each journey to sobriety is personal and unique, but you will find five basic components that are similar throughout recovery. As you embark on your journey to sobriety, focus your attention on these five areas. Some may need more attention than others, but ultimately, each aspect builds on the next. By applying yourself and working on each area, you will create a stronger, healthier and happier you.

1. Physical

The first step in getting clean and sober is removing drugs and toxins from your body. This is best done under the supervision of trained and qualified medical professionals, as each substance has its own withdrawal effects, and some can be deadly. At The River Source, we have medical staff available 24 hours a day, and they prescribe vitamins, minerals and conventional medicine to keep clients comfortable.

In addition to the detox process, it’s also important that you build your body back up. When abusing drugs or alcohol, the body suffers significantly. You probably haven’t eaten a healthy meal, slept a full night or enjoyed exercise in quite a long time. During recovery, you should implement an exercise regimen that will help your mind and body recover, as well as purge toxins from the body.

2. Emotional

Years ago, the emotional side of yourself would not have been taken into consideration during recovery. Fast forward to today, and modern treatment centers place priority on emotions. Why did you start using drugs or alcohol in the first place? What is your family life like? How do you handle stress? Does addiction run in the family?

These are all questions that counselors address to better understand your inner being. If you don’t learn more about yourself, then it’s likely that the drug or alcohol using behavior will come back. Through individual and group therapy, you can deal with past issues and move forward. Some techniques that help with stress include breathing exercises, presence awareness and re-framing.

3. Spiritual

Recovery is a spiritual process. This doesn’t mean that you have to believe in God, or a god for that matter, but instead that you connect with something beyond yourself. This could be nature or a higher power; it’s a personal journey. There are wonderful rewards to being a spiritual person, especially because it’s an evolving process. People report being more accepting, compassionate and forgiving.

To help connect with your spiritual side, The River Source recommends meditation, reading, journaling or prayer.

4. Social

Addiction leads to isolation, so you may be at a part in your recovery where you’re not sure how to connect with others quite yet. In fact, socializing with others may make you uncomfortable. The only way to move past this is by practicing being with friends and family who are in support of your recovery.

Start small, such as by going shopping with a parent or attending a nephew’s baseball game. Keep going to your 12-step meetings and aftercare groups, as you’ll continue building on your skills and practice listening and interacting with others.

Eventually, you’ll have to move past your comfort zone and try new things. This is okay, and something you must face in time. Be sure to have clear exit strategies in place, and always keep a phone number or two on hand for when you need to talk to someone. With smartphone and online forums, help is never far away.

5. Environmental

The environment can bring on a lot of triggers, such as driving past an old hangout or hearing a certain song. You can eliminate some of these temptations, but not all. After all, you can’t control what other people do. Counseling will teach you new skills that can help you deal with stress and anxiety. It’s also smart to take an inventory of your surroundings so that you can be prepared for certain feelings or emotions that may arise.

Now is also a great time to try new things, perhaps things that you put on hold years ago. If the holidays are a particularly difficult time for you, consider starting new traditions that include close family and friends. Choose your peers carefully, and make sure to create an environment that is positive, constructive and conducive to your recovery.