The best recovery strategy for addiction is holistic treatment. The reason for this is because of the nature of addiction and how it affects people. When we are hooked on drugs or alcohol, our addiction affects us physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially. There are probably other lenses through which we are affected as well. It does not just hurt us in one way, but instead it impacts our entire life and all the parts of it. It is a holistic disease.
The solution, therefore, must be holistic as well.
This is an important point that many people miss in recovery, because it is not emphasized in most recovery programs. Traditional recovery states that the disease is a spiritual malady, and therefore the solution is spiritual in nature, not holistic. This is a big fault of traditional approaches to recovery in my opinion, because it allows people to easily be misled on what they have to do to live a better life in recovery. If the solution were only spiritual in nature we would not need such elaborate programs and fellowships of recovery in order to try and help addicts, most of which do not end up working that well anyway.
There has to be a better way.
There is, and that is the holistic approach. If you approach your recovery in this way then you will vastly improve your chances of staying clean and sober. When you use a holistic approach you force yourself to consider growth in all areas of your life. When you ignore the holistic approach, as many in traditional recovery frequently do, then you allow yourself the luxury of ignoring certain aspects of your growth in this life that could prove to be valuable.
Let me give you an example. A friend of mine in recovery was overweight, smoked cigarettes, and was recovering from drug and alcoholism. But he continued to smoke and did not eat well and did not exercise much. This was a huge opportunity for him to approach his health and recovery in a holistic manner. Many people intuitively figure this out in recovery eventually and push themselves to quit smoking and live healthier and so on.
My friend did not push himself to do these things and he got very sick and passed away. He faced the challenge of holistic growth and he failed. He was doing fine “spiritually” when it came to traditional 12 step recovery, but in the end this was not enough to give him the quality of life he should have had.
Seek holistic recovery.
How to seek a path of growth
My number one recommendation to people who want to embrace the holistic lifestyle is to pick the biggest goal that will have the most impact on their health, and attack that goal with every thing you can muster. Do not focus on multiple goals all at once, instead, focus on one thing that will really make a difference in your life.
For example, quitting smoking is a huge opportunity for many people in recovery. If you can master that one goal, the experience of doing so will teach you how to master other goals as well (such as weight loss, proper nutrition, etc.).
One goal at a time, you can rebuild your life in recovery. Take it slow but steady, and conquer each goal while learning real discipline. This is the path to success.