What is the holistic approach to recovery? It is a system of personal growth that takes into account every aspect of your life. Most recovery programs for addiction and alcoholism focus only on the spiritual aspect of recovery. They argue that addiction is a spiritual malady, and that the solution for addiction must therefore be spiritual in nature. They are at least partially right in this approach but they also fall short of hitting the whole mark. In fact the disease of addiction is a holistic disease that affects every area of our lives. Think about it, do not drugs and alcohol affect people physically? Don’t they affect our health and our bodies over the long term and degrade our physical quality of life? Anyone with lung cancer from smoking or liver disease from alcoholism can attest to this fact.
Addiction also affects us in other areas of our lives. For example, it is a social disease and it either pushes us into isolation, or it affects our youth in society through peer pressure. Addiction destroys relationships. And it affects our emotional state as well.
So it is true that addiction is a spiritual disease and that the solution is spiritual. But in fact this is missing the larger picture and that is that addiction affects us in all areas of our lives, and the solution is therefore holistic, not just spiritual.
If you are living in recovery then you should take a holistic approach and see how it changes the quality of your life, and of your recovery. For example, start with the physical aspect–a part that many people dismiss as being unimportant. This is unfortunate because there are some awesome secrets to be found in this aspect of your recovery. For example, the incredible boost that you get if you exercise vigorously every day, stop smoking cigarettes, and start eating a healthier diet. If you do all 3 of these things then that is part of a holistic approach to recovery, yet how many people would suggest this in traditional recovery circles? None that I have heard….yet these things can and do make a huge difference in the quality of long term recovery.
There is a lot of depth to the holistic approach and you can examine and make changes in every area of your life, including mental, emotional, social, and spiritual aspects. The point is that it does not make much sense to limit your growth to the spiritual realm, when in fact our addiction affected us in all areas of our lives.