When seeking professional therapy for a drug or alcohol addiction, it takes the complete effort of mind, body and spiritual healing to achieve total recovery. Too often, it’s only one aspect that receives the attention, such as placing emphasis on the body as it weans itself off of drugs or alcohol. However, if you don’t properly treat the mind and spirit, treatment remains incomplete and the patient is more likely to relapse and suffer from cravings.
Wellness Activities at The River Source
At The River Source, we successfully treat the mind, body, and spirit through a variety of therapeutic techniques, including:
These types of natural therapies offer the body a way to heal through self-confidence, increased health and improved well being. Not only do these therapies play a direct role in how well a patient does during recovery, but also they manage after recovery. Recovering addicts who know how to successfully use wellness activities such as yoga or meditation as coping mechanisms are less likely to relapse and suffer from cravings.
Why Wellness Activities are Significant during Recovery
Why are wellness activities so important in the first place? What do they offer to a recovering addict that traditional medicine can’t?
First, physical activities like meditation have a direct effect on the brain’s pleasure centers. Meditation retrains the brain so that the reward center is positively impacted by good behaviors. During meditation, the brain’s pathways that were once triggered by drug or alcohol use become calmed by meditation and prayer.
Meditation also helps in naturally relieving stress, reducing triggers and withdrawal symptoms and lowering the risk of psychiatric complications. In short, instead of drugs and alcohol causing an increase in the feel-good chemical, dopamine, it’s a meditation that is creating the increase.
Meditation is also an excellent coping mechanism. The River Source counselors find that many recovering addicts do quite well during drug rehabilitation, but they struggle in the real world. Having an effective coping mechanism is one of the best ways to control cravings and stay on the path of continued success.
Many recovering addicts take a few minutes throughout the day to engage in a wellness activity like meditation, prayer or yoga to connect with their mind and body, erase negative thoughts and ease cravings. It’s these simple techniques that can make the difference in someone who stays drug-free and someone who doesn’t.
The good news is that there are many activities that can be done to stimulate the good pleasure centers in the brain, control cravings and find inner peace; meditation is just one example. Equine therapy is another excellent option for struggling addicts, as this activity includes trust, emotional, physical and spiritual growth and an awareness of your surroundings. It’s these skills that are learned during equine therapy that can be used in everyday life.
The Impact of Journaling
Physical activities have the most impact on the brain because they get the body moving, the blood flowing and the brain stimulated. But there are other ways that wellness activities can have a positive impact on the brain without having to engage in physical activity. Journaling is a large part of the healing of the mind here at The River Source, and we ask all of our patients to keep a journal detailing their journey toward sobriety.
Journaling allows our patients to get out their feelings in a private manner. Although counseling and therapy are effective, it can be days or weeks before our patients are ready to talk and make sense of their behavior. Journaling allows the inner conscious to flow freely, and the detailed accounts of these feelings are written down so that our patients can look back and see their growth. During the difficult days when it feels like you’re taking a step backward instead of forward, it’s a wonderful time to read your journal. You’ll see the changes you’ve made and the conflicted life that you don’t want to return to.
Participating in wellness activities will help you as you battle addiction, as well as during your integration back into society. These activities will continue to serve as your coping mechanisms, and whether you choose to meditate, do yoga, take a hike, go for a swim or ride a horse, you’re connecting with your inner self and avoiding the need for drugs. Wellness plays a significant role in recovery, which is why we place so much emphasis on these types of spiritual, mental and physical activities that strengthen all aspects of the individual without the need for further medication.