Recovering from addiction isn’t just a matter of getting sober or staying clean. It’s an ongoing holistic process that involves healing on all levels: physical, emotional and spiritual. Comprehensive addiction treatment programs offer resources that address all of these aspects of your health, so that you can regain your energy, vitality and hope for the future.
If you’re considering drug or alcohol rehab, there’s never been a better time to seek total health and wellness. State-of-the-art rehab facilities have integrated holistic principles into their treatment models, so you can benefit from these innovative therapies:
- Guided meditation
- Adventure therapy
- Art therapy
- Grief/loss counseling
- Eye movement desensitization and processing
- Nutrition and wellness counseling
- Yoga therapy
Nutritional counseling and exercise therapy address the needs of your body, while mindfulness training, meditation, yoga and expressive therapies help you center your mind. After years of self-destructive behavior, an addiction treatment program can offer a truly transformative experience.
Why Is Wellness So Important to Recovery?
Unlike other chronic conditions that can undermine your health — such as diabetes, hypertension or heart failure — addiction has only recently been recognized as a disease that requires a full course of holistic treatment. In the past, addicts and alcoholics were told that their compulsive substance abuse came from a lack of willpower or a failure of moral character. Today, addiction is acknowledged as a chronic, compulsive brain disorder that affects the body and mind.
Wellness isn’t just a state that you reach after finishing detox or graduating from a rehab program. It’s a continually evolving process of self-discovery and growth that will continue long after you finish the first phases of treatment. The University of California at Davis defines “wellness” as a process of making positive choices that contribute to your overall health. For most addicts, making those positive choices is difficult, even impossible. Addiction treatment should give you the therapeutic tools you need to make decisions that lead to a rewarding, healthy life, such as:
- Choosing foods that nourish your body and give you energy
- Getting exercise that strengthens and fulfills you
- Participating in social activities that give your life meaning
- Practicing mindfulness in day-to-day living
While addiction is a cycle of self-destruction, recovery is a process of self-realization and transformation. Addicts rarely know how to care for themselves or others in loving, nurturing ways. As you move through the stages of treatment, you’ll learn how to nourish yourself with daily practices that help you heal on all levels.
Most addicts come into recovery feeling exhausted, sick, and anxious or depressed. Drugs and alcohol take a devastating toll on the body, depleting your system of essential vitamins and minerals. In a misguided effort to medicate themselves, addicts often focus on getting and using their drugs of choice, while neglecting their nutritional needs. Some fuel themselves with junk foods, while others simply don’t eat at all. An addict’s body is typically malnourished and dehydrated.
According to Psychology Today, addicts can’t fully focus on the psychological and spiritual reasons for their disease unless they’ve restored their bodies through healthy eating. In this sense, nutritional therapy is fundamental to recovery. The role of nutrition in addiction treatment includes:
- Addressing nutritional deficiencies
- Rehydrating the body
- Replacing depleted vitamins and minerals
- Restoring a healthy weight
- Teaching self-care through healthy food choices
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that alcohol interferes with the body’s absorption of nutrients, causing malnutrition even in alcoholics who appear outwardly healthy. Alcoholics often lack many of the essential vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, C, E, D, K, and the B vitamins. Because addicts often forget to drink fluids, they are frequently dehydrated as well as undernourished.
Mindfulness is a state that eludes most addicts. The mental world of the addict is characterized by anxiety, fear, paranoia and anger. Life is chaotic and filled with stress. The addict is constantly obsessing over how, when and where to buy drugs or alcohol. Once the substance of choice has been obtained and used, the cycle of craving and drug-seeking begins all over again.
Therapeutic modalities like Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) focus on teaching the addict how to lead a mindful, meaningful life.
Mindfulness is a state of awareness that allows you to be fully focused on the present moment. Instead of obsessing over the future (“How will I get more coke today?” “How much wine should I drink tonight?” “How can I pay the rent and still buy drugs for the weekend?”), the addict learns how to quiet her mind and center her thoughts on her recovery goals.
Mindfulness-based therapies teach you to deal with stressful situations and emotions in healthy, productive ways instead of treating them as triggers for substance abuse.
- Individual behavioral therapy
- Group therapy
- Meditation practice
- Exercises that unite body and mind, such as yoga or tai chi
Addiction Science & Clinical Practice states that Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has proven to be a successful modality for treating substance abuse as well as severe mental illness and suicidal behavior. Addicted clients who actively participate in mindfulness training through DBT have lower rates of relapse and longer periods of abstinence, the journal reports.
Physical exercise is more than just a matter of losing weight and getting in shape. It’s a way to recover a naturally induced sense of energy and joy by challenging your body in healthy ways. As a result of the neurological damage caused by addiction, many addicts are unable to experience pleasure without the euphoric rush of a drug-induced high. This state, called anhedonia, may be reversed through fitness activities that make you feel invigorated and refreshed.
According to Sports Medicine, physical exercise encourages the release of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine — the same brain chemicals that are affected by drugs like cocaine, meth, heroin and alcohol. By stimulating the natural production of these neurotransmitters, exercise can elevate your mood and restore your energy without the devastating effects of drugs. At the same time, getting fit can restore your self-esteem as you build strength and endurance.
Comprehensive rehab programs incorporate time for physical activities like strength training, hiking, swimming and yoga. These activities also facilitate the detox process, helping your body release toxins and rebuild itself on a stronger foundation.
Recreation and Team-Building
Self-isolation is one of the primary symptoms of addiction. As the disease progresses, the addict separates herself from friends and family in order to spend more time with her drug of choice. Self-isolation encourages depression and increases the risk of suicide. One of the goals of a wellness-based recovery program is to draw the addict out of isolation and teach him how to form healthy bonds with others.
Often the victims of abuse or exploitation, addicts typically have trouble trusting others.
They may have difficulty forming positive friendships that don’t revolve around drugs. Through peer group therapy and 12-Step facilitation, the addict learns how to build positive, trusting friendships with others. Recreational activities like group hikes or adventure therapy provide a natural source of pleasure while reinforcing self-esteem and promoting trust. Through these team-building events, the addict learns how to share her resources with others, while drawing strength and support from a group.
After months or years of isolation, the addict often forgets how to interact with others in positive ways. Her relationships usually center on drug-seeking activities or on substance abuse. Even if her life seems to be a whirlwind of parties, nightclubs and social events, she may lack the basic skills she needs to make friends, hold down a job, or communicate effectively with others. In order to achieve true wellness, the addict must learn how to become an active, productive member of a social community.
Peer group therapy is one of the core components of a holistic addiction treatment program. In group counseling, the members of a session share their experiences, fears and strategies for success. They develop social skills by learning how to communicate openly and respectfully with other members. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, group therapy is a powerful recovery tool that provides a number of important benefits:
- It allows addicts to see proof of others’ recovery.
- It teaches participants how to share their experiences and emotions honestly.
- It draws addicts into a positive, healthy culture of recovery.
- It teaches the participant important coping strategies for dealing with the triggers and temptations of the outside world.
Self-awareness is one of the most important aspects of optimal wellness. It’s impossible to heal from the disease of addiction if you aren’t conscious of the way this chronic condition affects your body, mind and spirit. Addiction education groups provide in-depth instruction on the risks and consequences of substance abuse. Taught by experienced substance abuse therapists, these courses provide a structured, supportive environment where rehab clients can learn about their disease. The goals of an addiction education program include:
- Teaching the client about the causes of addiction: physical, psychological, environmental and genetic
- Instructing clients about the effects of addiction on overall health
- Informing the client about the health benefits of a drug-free life
- Giving the client the resources needed to make healthy, positive choices
- Providing education on how to manage stress and avoid relapse
Health and Wellness at Black Bear Lodge
The individualized treatment programs at Black Bear Lodge are designed to address all the aspects of health, so you can achieve your optimal level of wellness. Located in the foothills of northern Georgia, our forested surroundings nurture your spirit while providing the opportunity to exercise your body. We offer a full range of holistic addiction treatment services, including:
- Intensive individual therapy drawing from evidence-based treatment modalities (DBT, CBT and ACT)
- Group counseling with other patients who are seeking overall wellness
- Family counseling to educate and support your loved ones
- Adventure therapy, expressive therapy and yoga
- Outdoor recreation and team-building activities
- Nutritional counseling and fitness therapy
- Grief/loss counseling
If your goal is to achieve true transformation, Black Bear Lodge is the ideal setting for your recovery. Away from the stress and distractions of daily life, you’ll find solace and healing in a resort-like atmosphere. Call our admissions coordinators to learn more about how our holistic approach to rehab can help you find the total health you deserve.