Statistics show that drug and alcohol abuse is on the rise. Approximately 23.5 percent of Americans are struggling with an addiction problem, yet only one in 10 receives the treatment they need due to financial limitations. If changes happen with healthcare reform, it can become easier for everyone to afford proper care, but until then, it’s important to work with a doctor and social worker to explore payment options for a treatment program — especially considering approximately 90 percent of individuals have at least one relapse during a four year period. Along with traditional 12-step programs and support groups, it can behoove a recovery survivor to incorporate alternative treatment methods into their plan. The best part is that these tactics feel like everyday, normal activities, yet they can have a huge impact on one’s long-term sobriety. Here are a few options that can elevate the rehabilitation experience.

A Restorative Diet Is Key
Drug and alcohol abuse prompts irregular eating patterns and poor nutrition, which can lead to osteoporosis, severe vitamin deficiencies (think absorption problems), digestion issues, and impaired mental functioning. Research shows that eating healthy can help recovery survivors maintain sobriety, whereas consuming junk food can hinder one’s progress. Believe it or not, nutrition is not typically a focal point in many recovery programs, which is why it’s important to institute it yourself.

A nutritious diet helps build and repair organ tissue, and boost mood and energy levels — it’s even been proven to influence behavior due to the fact that the brain structure is altered both chemically and physiologically. Nutritionists suggest eliminating sugar and processed foods and incorporating plenty of whole grains and protein into your diet — the amino acids are key to helping the brain beat feelings of withdrawal. Frequent, smaller meals versus three large squares are more favorable so you never feel hungry or too full. This technique also helps keep blood sugar levels stable. It’s best to seek advice from a nutritionist on what types of specific foods you should be eating, as it’s contingent on the specific substance you were addicted to.

Get Moving
The detox process can be extremely difficult, but with the help of nutrition, you’ll start to feel more motivated to add exercise into your daily schedule. In order to stick to it, you’ve got to find an activity you enjoy. Anything outdoors is a great choice because the body gets a much-needed dose of vitamin D. Team sports can help boost self-esteem, establish relationships, and provide a sense of purpose, so consider joining a local league. Meditative practices like yoga can help you center yourself while reaping physical and cognitive benefits. Because it’s not uncommon for muscle atrophy to occur in recovery survivors, weight training is key for the restoration of vital tissue.

Try Something New
Trying a new hobby or activity can spark a newfound creative expression that can help you learn to enjoy life without drugs or alcohol while coping with recovery. Consider signing up for an art, music, or dance class. Not only can these activities give you a sense of accomplishment, but they also help prevent social isolation. Journaling is a more personal creative outlet that can help you gain control of your thoughts, actions, and emotions.

When making any major changes to your lifestyle, make sure you keep an open dialogue with your doctor and coach, as you want to make sure you’re in the proper place physically and mentally. You’re going to want to avoid situations where temptation may be lurking until you feel strong enough to handle it. The road to sobriety is a long one, so don’t beat yourself up if you have a setback. Use it as an opportunity to recalibrate your routine based on your current state.

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Blog Credit:  Kimberly Hayes