Alcohol Programs Should Incorporate More Holistic Principles

Alcohol Programs Should Incorporate More Holistic Principles


Some of the best alcohol programs are not the traditional, group therapy style programs, but instead are more of the off the beaten path holistic type programs that people sort of design on their own.  There is a huge misconception out there in traditional recovery that people cannot recover without constant group therapy and an endless stream of meetings.  This is not really working for most people, as the vast majority of those who attend these meetings continue to relapse.  Now this is not to say that there are no recovering alcoholics who find success in AA, because there certainly are.  But there is a lot of failure at the meetings as well, and the numbers clearly point to the fact that daily meeting attendance is not a cure for addiction or alcoholism.

What makes an alcohol program more powerful in terms of success?  Holistic principles.  Take any recovery program and pick it apart.  Does it advocate for good physical health?  Emotional balance?  Spiritual growth?  Healthy relationships?  Traditional recovery in AA hits many of these highlights, but it does not hit all of them.  In fact, most people in 12 step meetings are clinging to the fact that smoking cigarettes is OK, and they do not necessarily push very heavily for physical fitness as a big part of recovery.

Creative Commons License photo credit: smith_cl9

This is a huge mistake, in my experience.  You notice I did not say opinion.  My experience has shown me that physical fitness is important to recovery.  Why?  Because when I started exercising on  regular basis, my life in recovery got a whole lot better.  And, my best friend passed away due to poor health habits, even though he was in recovery.  Not to mention the fact that I see the effects of exercise (or a lack thereof) on many other people in recovery on a regular basis.  Those who work out and get fit are happier, healthier, and seem to have a better grip on their recovery in general.  Maybe that is my own internal bias, but I just see physical fitness as being so vital to overcoming depression, something that a lot of alcoholics struggle with in early recovery.

Ultimately, alcoholism programs need to consider holistic principles, especially as the alcoholic remains sober for longer and longer.  In the beginning, a narrow focus is acceptable, and even necessary in order to stay sober.  But eventually the alcoholic must grow and embrace holistic health, and start considering their overall health in recovery.

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