Create your own 'internal' Sobriety Support System
Recovering addicts are typically beset by powerful feelings, including fear, anxiety, shame, and anger. It’s important to find ways to control these feelings because allowing them to gain control of you can lead to some very negative consequences. Instead, try engaging in mindfulness-enhancing activities, such as walking in the woods or meditating to your favorite soft music to make that mind-body connection.
In addition to addressing emotional health, it’s important to pay attention to your immune system. Drug and alcohol addiction can damage your body from head to toe, so it’s important to take steps to boost your health in any way you can. This applies to all aspects of your life, including your home environment. For example, giving your home a deep cleaning can help rid it of any dust, dander, and allergens that may have been neglected. And while it might not sound like a big deal, staying on top of your air filters can make all the difference in terms of indoor air quality. Anything you can do to help protect your immune system while you recover is crucial.
Meditation for Everyone
For thousands of years, meditation has been an important spiritual practice in many cultures. However, meditation can be practiced apart from any religious beliefs, and many people today use it for the variety of ways it can support well-being in the world of addiction recovery, meditation can help people establish a healthy balance that supports sobriety.
You can try Headspace for yourself and learn the essentials of meditation and mindfulness with our free Basics course. If you enjoy it, then it’s time to subscribe. Once you do, you’ll have bite-sized minis for when you’re short on time, exercises to add extra mindfulness to your day, and hundreds of meditations on everything from stress to sleep.
Because there are so many different kinds of yoga practices, it is possible for anyone to start. “Whether you’re a couch potato or a professional athlete, size and fitness levels do not matter because there are modifications for every yoga pose and beginner classes in every style,” says Dr. Nevins. “The idea is to explore your limits, not strive for some pretzel-like perfection. It is a great way to get in tune with your body and your inner self.”
An increasing number of studies suggest that mindfulness activities, such as yoga, can help people overcome addiction when complemented by traditional treatment. Meditation’s effect on the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain may be a reason why.
“Yoga raises the levels of GABA, which has shown to reduce stress and anxiety,”
A 2014 study published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine examined the effect of yoga alongside rehab in treating alcohol dependence. In the trial, 18 people battling alcohol dependence in Sweden received traditional treatment or traditional treatment plus yoga. The results showed that the greatest reduction in drinking occurred among the group that incorporated yoga into treatment.
Yoga may help people addicted to heroin, a drug involved in about 15,500 U.S. deaths in 2016. A study published in the journal Nursing Research indicated that yoga can significantly improve the mood and quality of life in female heroin users undergoing drug detoxification. Researchers concluded that the activity can be used alongside traditional care to treat heroin dependence.
“The twisting poses and the breathing modalities are beneficial during detoxification,”
Individuals battling substance abuse problems may not have cerebral balance, which causes them to focus on their drug cravings. Through yoga, individuals focus on mindfulness rather than immediate physical desires.