How can you go about integrating the holistic recovery method in your life after drug addiction or alcoholism?
What is the best way to live in recovery?
Let’s take a closer look at how you can actually seek out a more holistic approach, one that will strengthen your recovery and help you to prevent relapse.
Suggestion number one: seek fitness
My number one suggestion for the holistic approach to recovery is to start exercising.
Everyone likes to dismiss this as being “a good suggestion” but then they don’t really want to act on it, they don’t want to take it seriously, and they definitely do not want to make any major lifestyle changes.
But think about this:
The people who are exercise fanatics already “get it.” They have found the secret sauce, they are obviously doing something that makes them feel terrific, and they would no sooner go without exercise than you would consider going without air.
Does that mean that exercise is for everyone? I think we could make a strong argument that it is.
Your body was not meant to sit idle. Your design, the way your body is put together, it is designed for movement. It is optimized for movement. Your physical construction is well suited for walking, jogging, running, swimming, jumping around, and burning up energy.
So, move your body. It really can be that simple.
The benefits of regular exercise are impossible to convey to someone who does not “get it.”
Those who are already engaging in vigorous exercise on a regular basis already “get it” and you could not persuade them to stop exercising. Why should they? It makes them feel great and enhances their health and life in recovery.
If you ignore any of these suggestions for pursuing the holistic approach, don’t let it be this one. Exercise is far to valuable for you to pass up and go without.
Suggestion number two: eliminate bad habits
Right up there along with exercise as being supremely important to the holistic approach is the elimination of bad habits. For example:
* Quitting smoking.
* Quitting drugs, alcohol, or other substances or chemicals.
* Eliminating a gambling addiction.
* Eliminating computer or video game addiction.
* Eliminating an emotional condition.
And so on. Anything in your life that is a negative should be target number one for you to fix in your recovery.
Anything that is causing you shame, guilt, or that is holding you back should be eliminated.
So, step one: exercise. Step two: eliminate bad habits. If you stopped after these two suggestions your life in recovery would still improve drastically. But of course, there is more…..
Suggestion number three: go learn something
Recovery is personal growth, but it is also a learning process. The two ideas are really synonymous. If you want to keep growing in your recovery then you have to keep learning in your recovery. Simple as that.
So, what to go learn?
After learning about fitness in your life and eliminating bad habits, I would take a look at your education. Do you want to pursue a job or a career that requires more education? When I got clean and sober, I found that this is part of what I wanted in my life, so I went back to college.
My addiction had derailed my first college effort, so naturally at some point in my recovery, everyone was suggesting that I go back and finish it up.
Obviously this was a positive change in my life, but I had to be willing to try to go learn something. It is not enough to just say “I am being open minded.” You have to push yourself a step further than that in some cases and say “What can I learn that will help me in my recovery? What can I learn that will help me to better serve the world?”
Suggestion number four: examine your career choices
Most of us are probably not doing our dream jobs when we first get clean and sober.
In fact, many of us are probably completely out of a job, or we may have been fired or let go due to our addiction.
In this case, you have a fresh start in recovery, and you have a huge opportunity now.
Instead of just going back to what you knew in the past, why not consciously shape your job and career in recovery?
Believe me, once you clear away the drugs and the alcohol, it becomes much easier to make this sort of conscious career change.
Time, in particular, is abundant in recovery. You have plenty of time and lots of mental energy with which to work with. Without being held back by your addiction, you are free to pursue and create the career that you have always wanted.
Someone might argue against this idea, saying something like “I have always wanted to go back to school and become a (blank), but I have to work and so I don’t have much time. It would take me several years just to get the degree!”
So what? The time is going to pass anyway, whether you are moving towards a positive goal or not!
Therefore, start moving towards a positive goal.
Suggestion number five: create something
Maybe you do not necessarily want to start a new career or chase after your dream job in recovery. If not, that’s fine.
But you should be looking to take some action, and create something positive in your life.
For example, I started a website about addiction and recovery, and grew it to the point that it became a natural meeting place for many people who were looking to make positive changes in their lives. I added a discussion forum to the website and now people meet there every day to try to help each other.
This is an example of creating something in recovery, something that became “bigger than myself” and eventually took on a life of its own.
We all have unique talents and abilities in our lives, and the time to unleash them and is in recovery. After eliminating the drugs and alcohol, you have boundless opportunity to create something amazing in your life. Again, the time is just going to pass anyway, whether you are actively creating positive experiences or not.
So you may as well take action, and aim to create something in your life.
Ask yourself: “What are you good at, and how can you best help others?” The answer to this question should help guide you to your next creative endeavor.
Suggestion number six: take control of your finances
One of the biggest sources of stress in recovery can be money. As such, making your financial health a part of your conscious holistic approach can be a really important step.
It is fair to say that some people in recovery have jeopardized their sobriety due to poor money management. It can and does happen.
No one needs this extra source of stress in their recovery, so make a conscious decision to avoid it. If you have debt or money problems hanging over your head, then that is a huge negative in your life that needs to be eliminated.
You can take control of such things by asking for help, and then following some suggestions. While the scope of fixing your finances is a bit outside of this article, you can get the basics down by ruthlessly cutting your spending while at the same time seeking stable income sources.
It’s tough, it takes discipline, but the effort is well worth it. If you can learn to take control of your financial life, it will not only reduce your stress, but it will also teach you the discipline that is necessary to help you stay clean and sober. This is the essence of how the holistic approach really works, in that one growth experience can teach you a lot about other parts of your life too.
Suggestion number seven: find a way to help others
All of this sort of ties into what you might think of as your ultimate goal in using the holistic approach: helping others.
This does not mean that you have to become a door mat or that you have to live a life of service.
Instead, your holistic effort should focus on self improvement at the core, and then use that self improvement in order to better help others.
What are your unique gifts and talents, and what can you best to in order to help the world? How can you make a positive change and create a huge impact on the world? Find out what that is, and then do it!
If you are nowhere near a position where you will allow yourself to think that big, then no problem! Start making changes in your own life, and start seeking positive growth experiences for yourself. As you do this, you will eventually reach a point where you will see a natural way for you to reach out and help others.
But getting to this point requires you to push yourself toward holistic growth first. As Ghandi said, “be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Push to make positive changes yourself, then later you will see how you can be of great service to others, without sacrificing yourself at all. This is the path of true holistic growth in recovery.