SEVEN SECTORS OF WELLNESS IN RECOVERY
Although every person’s path to recovery is personal and can be complicated, there are seven basic components often found in recovery to achieve improved wellness. They are important sectors for personal growth, not only in recovery, but life in general. These components may or not be entirely relevant to what caused a person to derail, but can only help in getting back on track and improving the quality of life. These segments are also not always equal in balance and need depending on the person. Every person may find focusing on one more than another is helpful. Perhaps all need a little attention. The strategies and usefulness of each can be determined and vary for each client. You will see how many of these components complement one another as your embark on your recovery journey.
Obviously, in any chemical addiction situation the goal is to eradicate the chemicals from the body that are causing harm. This is done under the supervision and advisement of trained and qualified medical and recovery professionals.
Nutritionists, dieticians, and other professionals can be sought out to help in creating a proper nutrition regimen aiding in the overall physical recovery. Often after long-term chemical addiction, the body has suffered certain damage and wear that may need to be addressed by dietary adjustments as well as medical supervision. What we eat greatly determines how we feel, our moods, energy, and quality of life. (We do not offer nutritional/dietary services at HPR.) There are also many books available to help you improve your dietary regimens during recovery.
Since many alter or cease their physical activities while using chemical substances; it is encouraged that a physical and/or exercise regimen be taken into consideration during recovery. This not only helps the body and mind to recover, but it also helps the body purge the substances from your system quicker and releases endorphins which help in natural mood elevation. There are many avenues and programs available to help people get back into a fitness regimen. Your current age, physical capabilities, and financial situation should have no barrier to your accessibility to some sort of plan even if developed for a personal at-home plan. If you have chronic pain, disabilities, or other health concerns, discuss it with your doctor.
Often people who have gone through an addiction isolate themselves and restrict any and all activity. The gesture of simply going on a walk with a loved one can be a breakthrough. A bike ride with your children can be a great gesture to those around you that effort is being made. Creating new routines that are exclusively for your well being is one of the best gifts you can give yourself in recovery.
We all have “stuff.” It is nothing to be ashamed of. However, finding strategies that allow us to handle this “stuff” is crucial in being able to abstain from addictive behaviors. Sometimes we need to “clean out our closet” of old thoughts and situations that still haunt us. Whether they are of a chemical nature or a personal emotional nature stemming from an event, it is best to seek out a resource who may be able to best help you in dealing with past issues that may continue to arise becoming a barrier to your recovery. This is where counseling can be supportive and is why we incorporate it into our programs.
To move forward, you may wish to seek other supportive techniques ranging from breathing skills, presence awareness, re-framing, and other strategies you can have at your disposal to assist you in overcoming spontaneous challenges. There are many options to help assist development in emotional stability. Many in recovery seek activities such as fitness activities, yoga, and meditation to help them gain traction in their recovery journey.
Spirituality is a very personal component. In this context it will be considered as embarking on a journey of “connection” to something beyond yourself. This could be nature, family, peers, or a higher power. It is a search for meaning in a personally fulfilling context. It is a relationship and a personal one at that.
Since spirituality is often an evolving process, it aligns with the idea that a newcomer to recovery is evolving as well. Spirituality on many levels confronts issues such as gratitude, compassion, acceptance, and forgiveness to name a few, and it has been found to be essential in one’s personal development. We do not impart belief systems but encourage connection with people and places that are supportive and enriching.
Reading, meditation, prayer, and other practices allowing one to become more present are always welcome in recovery and are proven to improve the quality of one’s life.
However, religious principles and practices are best taught by their respective clergy. If these avenues are sought, a counselor or social worker can help you research available resources.
Social re-integration is an important part of recovery. Since people in active addiction often isolate themselves, it is wise to break that behavioral pattern. Whether it is simply embarking on developing healthy routines in accomplishing personal chores, to shopping, to enjoying the company of family–social activities are helpful in reintegration.
The counselor can help you create strategies for dealing with social situations should they become threatening or disarming to your recovery. It is wise to start off in more therapeutic settings at first as you venture out to reconnect. After-care groups, 12-Step meetings, religious events, or with supportive loved ones is best to test the waters. Creating effective “exit strategies” are paramount to dealing with old situations in a new way.
Also, being able to maintain an acceptable composure is essential in stabilizing stressed relationships. Once the person who was once steeped in addiction starts recovery, they have to return to confront some of the collateral damage their behavior caused to those around them. Being able to take ownership and make amends may be challenging. This can take time. Forgiveness from others can take time as well. Working with a counselor is a good way to get a healthy perspective on achieving this important part of recovery.
Having a direction or sense of purpose is very important in recovery. Many find that they have let dreams slide or goals often erode to the demands of active addiction. Through the reflection one often goes through in their recovery, they find that plugging back in to their goals can help them have something to focus on and a healthy daily distraction. This can involve returning to an old career or job or, many times looking into a new one. Sometimes these changes require a new educational journey. Many people find they would like to explore helping others whether as a volunteer or as a new career choice.
We encourage people to find something that drives them and inspires passion as they move forward as passion, altruism, and self-actualization usually wither from addiction. However, a new clearer sense of self and the support from others can often leverage people into doing things they never though possible in their lives.
Going back to the same surroundings can be challenging–even if they were not directly related to your addiction. It is essential to remove anything that may trigger unwanted behavior. If you live with others or are in a public workplace, you may not have the luxury of being able to eliminate all the challenges. Your counselor can help you determine skills to cope with these challenges.
This can be as extensive as moving to a new home or job or getting new relationships, to things as simple as creating little motivational “reminders” that discreetly nudge you along. A proper inventory of your daily environment is helpful to be able to prepare for any upcoming challenges. In a newly sober journey, simple items and places that were once inconsequential, can drum up challenging thoughts. It is also imperative to know what you can change, and what you cannot. This alone is crucial to recovery!
It can be therapeutic to look at recovery as “getting a chance to experience everything again for the first time.” It is a time to allow you to form new opinions on things like holidays, time with family, fun events, and other simple daily routines. A “new you” can bring on a new appreciation for things that used to lead to negative behaviors.
Also while embarking on a new life journey, it is also a good time to try things that may have been put on hold or that you have always desired to do. Is there a workshop you have wanted to take, go back to college, or take an art class? The time that was once spent in destructive behavior must now be filled with new activities. The more heightened the experience, the more therapeutic they become. Engaging as many of your senses as you can helps stimulate the brain to enjoy newer and healthier activities.
Everything from Yoga, sports, swimming, cooking, writing, and volunteering/service work are enriching activities that stimulate the body and also tie in to many of the other areas listed here. Just because you may have “not liked” doing something in the past does not mean the “new you” will not like it now. Try new things and really feel the experience.
These elements are not “all-inclusive” but sets up some of the parameters that have been found helpful in recovery. They create a core cross-section of a healthy path to recovery regardless of the addictive substance/behavior. It is an illustration of how vast and full of options recovery can be.
First and most importantly we must ask ourselves:
1. DO I WANT TO CHANGE?
Recovery comes fastest and stays the longest when we want it for ourselves and for the right reasons!
The next question is:
2. DO I BELIEVE A CHANGE IS POSSIBLE?
Blessed are those who believe without seeing! Although at this point it can be difficult to see too far down the path. The key is to believe you can do anything for a day at a time (maybe even an hour at a time). At worst case, “Do you believe that we believe you can do it? We do!”
Then ask yourself:
3. WHAT BARRIERS DO I NEED TO OVERCOME?
These barriers can appear and disappear, so that is where the HPR Staff and other resources can be helpful. From doctors, counselors, and treatment providers, this is where you arm yourself with the supports, skills, people, and tools to insure your success is recovery.
4. MAKE THE CALL!
If nothing changes, nothing changes! We are here to help. You do not have to go on feeling sick, scared, alone, and hurting. Let us help you make today the day you decided enough is enough! Break free of the chains of opiate addiction and see what a joy life can be without the pain of addiction. We look forward to hearing from you!
COURAGE – Courage is also known as bravery, fortitude, will, and intrepidity. It is the ability to confront fear, pain, risk and danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. “Physical Courage” is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death, or the threat of death–while “Moral Courage” is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.
~ Anne Sexton (1928-1974)