Holistic recovery for alcoholics and drug addicts consists of personal growth in many areas of our lives. The key is to not shut ourselves out from certain avenues of growth just because they do not fit into “our program.” Our program should be one of holistic growth, period.
Think about how your addiction affected your life. It messed you up physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and socially. So why would we limit our recovery solution to only focus on spiritual growth? That doesn’t make much sense, since our lives were affected in so many different ways. It makes more sense to open up to the possibility of growth in other areas as well. And that is what holistic recovery is all about.
I had a friend in recovery who was not all that old and was approaching his fifth year of sobriety. He was overweight, still smoked cigarettes, did not eat all that healthy, and never exercised. Well, he passed away, and I can’t help but think that a more holistic approach to recovery would have served him better.
If he had pushed himself to grow in other ways, he might still be around. He could have quit smoking cigarettes, as many other addicts and alcoholics in recovery eventually do. He could have changed his diet a bit and tried to lose some weight through regular exercise.
This was a huge lesson for me as this guy was my best friend. He struggled to be healthy and ultimately he could not do it. Of course we all have to go at some point but I think he was young enough that there is still a huge lesson here for anyone who is willing to see it.
Holistic growth is important. Don’t be scared by the word “holistic.” Just know that it refers to all areas of your life. Treating the alcoholic or addict as a “whole” person. So you do not ignore their physical health at the expense of, say, spiritual growth. Instead of a narrow focus you need to consider the whole person and what is in their best interest overall.
Is this the best approach in early recovery? Probably not. If you have 2 weeks sober, then you need laser focus on not picking up a drink or a drug. You need networking and support. You don’t need to try and change your diet and look at exercise and nutrition and all that just yet.
But if you are at 2 years sober and all you have done is eliminate the drugs and the alcohol, without pushing yourself to be healthier and to grow in new ways, then it is time to kick it into high gear and get going.
As my friend who passed away would point out, the clock is ticking….