More and more people today are choosing healthy foods. They are participating in yoga retreats, going to meditation classes, and seeing a nutritionist. Living holistically is becoming a choice for more and more people around the country, and even around the world.

And if you’re in recovery, this might also be true for you too. In fact, there are many treatment centers that are now taking a holistic approach. This is not so much the case because living holistically is becoming mainstream, but because experts are seeing the value in living holistically.

Getting holistic support for your recovery means getting special kind of support. According to The Free Dictionary holistic care is: “a system of comprehensive or total patient care that considers the physical, emotional, social, economic, and spiritual needs of the person; his or her response to illness; and the effect of the illness on the ability to meet self-care needs.” Essentially, holistic care takes into account the whole person. It not only considers the physiological and physical aspects of the addiction, but also the emotional, psychological, and spiritual facets to an addiction.

Both the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recognize the importance of living holistically and taking one’s overall well being in consideration when in recovery. For instance, NIDA recently published a guide based on research that provides the 13 principles of effective drug addiction treatment. NIDA’s publication is a significant one, outlining the factors that can facilitate drug and alcohol treatment regardless of the length and strength of an addiction. One of the 13 principles placed an emphasis on treatment that is holistic:

Drug and alcohol treatment that is effective addresses not just the addiction alone.; it must address the medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal issues as well.  Treatment must be holistic in nature.

Similarly, SAMHSA also encourages a focus on wellness in one’s recovery. For example, SAMHSA’s vision is:

We envision a future in which people with mental health and substance use disorders pursue optimal health, happiness, recovery, and a full and satisfying life in the community via access to a range of effective services, supports, and resources.

Also, SAMHSA launched the National Wellness Week in 2011 where they’ve outlined and promoted eight dimensions of wellness. These include:

–Emotional—Being able to manage life effectively and sustain satisfying relationships
–Environmental—Ensuring that the environments in which you spend time are pleasant, stimulating, and support well-being
–Financial–Finding satisfaction with current and future financial situations
–Intellectual—Recognizing your creative and intellectual abilities as well as finding ways to expand knowledge and skills
–Occupational—Getting personal satisfaction, fulfillment, and meaning from one’s work
–Physical—Recognizing the necessity for exercise, healthy foods and sleep
–Social—Having strong connections with others, having a sense of belonging, and developing a network of support
–Spiritual—Expanding your sense of purpose and meaning in life

Anyone who is moved by these eight dimensions and want to focus on improving each of them is welcome to take the SAMHSA Pledge for Wellness. It’s a pledge to make a commitment to your well being and find others who are doing the same.

Furthermore, if you’re thinking about incorporating holistic practices to help strengthen your sobriety, the following list might give you some ideas. Many of these you might have read about, and others might be brand new to you.

–Art Therapy
–Craniosacral Therapy
–Deep Breathing
–Guided Imagery
–Herbal Therapy
–Ideal Model Imagery
–Pet Therapy

Other holistic practices might include spiritual self-expression, inspirational reading, nutrition counseling, and development of life skills. The latter might be courses on money management, employment searching, and improved coping skills. Furthermore, an addiction treatment center might have a culinary artist on board who prepares healthy and organic meals and who is able to make special dietary considerations for their residents.

Holistic activities help to promote physical well being, a healthy self-image, productive coping mechanisms, and psychological health. When these are combined with the right rehabilitative environment for sober living, they can create lasting change.

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