Addiction treatment is most effective when performed alongside a holistic recovery plan geared at promoting overall well-being. The cyclical pattern of suffering associated with the disease of addiction may seem like an endless negative spiral, impacting all areas of everyday life. Treatment and relapse prevention plans should include a truly holistic approach to addiction recovery, identifying all areas of impairment and relieving symptoms accordingly.
Those suffering with the disease of addiction are affected in a three-fold manner: physically, mentally & spiritually. Focusing treatment on only one area would be akin to putting a Band-Aid on a broken bone and expecting a patient to show improvement. A more effective and modern approach to addiction recovery involves identifying & treating the root causes for using, rather than simply addressing the manifestation of symptoms.
A holistic approach to treatment aims to heal several factors that contribute to the cycle of addiction:
Treating physical wellness by first addressing symptoms of both acute and post acute withdrawal symptoms that may occur from the discontinuation of substances. This is a manner of individualized medical care which encourages the body’s innate ability to restore health.
Assist in catalyzing emotional balance and total wellness of the mind, psyche and spirit through empowering modalities of wellness, meditation and self-care.
Inviting in grounding of Spiritual Connectivity and exploration of one’s soul passions, tapping into authenticity & bringing forth peace and serenity.
Addressing eating habits to Renew, Replenish and Regenerate health by approaching balanced consumption of nutrition for neuro-chemical function.
Practitioners of Holistic Healing Arts find creating a truly individualized & holistic approach produces longer lasting benefits in clients’ lives.
In indigenous societies, if one sought healing due to disheartening maladies of the body, mind or spirit, a “Medicine Person” would begin the healing process by asking:
“When did you stop being enchanted by stories? When did you stop dancing? When did you stop being comforted by the sweet territory of silence? When did you stop singing?” (as expounded upon further within the well-respected, world musician/dancer/shamanic practitioner, Gabrielle Roth’s, books on healing through Holism of Dance/Art/Expression.)
“Dancing, singing, storytelling, and silence are the four universal healing salves.” This theory written translates well to the foundations of scientifically sound and holistic approach in addiction treatment.
(Talk & Cognitive Behavioral Therapy): Incorporating the concept of “telling our story” as seen in 12-step fellowships is also a universally accepted form of effective intervention during substance abuse or mental health treatment. Learning how to share thoughts, feelings & ideas, along with listening and providing feedback are essential skills for both addiction recovery and everyday life.
(Taking care of one’s physical body): Movement directly impacts emotional well-being as the endorphins brought about by exercise have been shown to reduce feelings of depression & anxiety. For many, a simple moderately-paced jog will produce an uplifted mood however some find an eastern approach to be beneficial. Qi Gong classes, Yoga, Yogic Mudras & Mantras practices are all ways to build healthy relationships towards one’s self and others.
(Mindfulness & Meditative Approaches): Mindfulness meditation is the practice of simply noticing one’s surroundings and the nature of their experience in any given moment with most practitioners start by observing the pattern of their own breath. Mindfulness or vipassana meditation has been shown to have concrete physiological benefits, even when practiced for as few as 10 minutes per day. In recent studies, scientists have examined the brains of long-term meditators and their findings have been remarkable. It appears that through practicing meditation, things like physical pain are felt much differently simply by having an overall awareness of the experience. For those in recovery from active addiction, being able to identify cravings or urges to use before acting on them may be the difference between relapsing or staying sober.
(Music Therapy): Holistic approaches to recovery encourage involvement in supportive and sober communities. For example, gathering in a drum circle and drumming in a community models & encourages one to seek council and healing among ‘tribal consciousness.’ One can find refuge in the process of coming together around music, song and like-minded people. Drumming is also a form of meditation as it induces relaxed mental states thereby releasing feelings of anxiety and tension. Drumming combined with deep breathing and visualization techniques offers even more stress reduction and total body/mind/spirit re-balancing.
Exploring these available holistic paths, one can expect to develop useful skills to add to traditional forms of treatment and community support groups.
Other forms of holistic interventions and modalities helpful in treating active addiction include but are not limited to:
Mindfulness meditation and mindfulness lifestyle is an approach to practically live conducive to recovery, in becoming present and aware, in each moment. Mindfulness brings greater joy into life and serves as a preventative tool to dissolve propensity to impulsive & negative, harmful actions.
De-stressing Meditation & Breathwork
Proper posture and awareness to the breath transforms and heals difficult emotional states. Breathwork brings forth a strengthened immunity as well, as the deep breathing creates the foundation to fully balanced alkalinity in the body, rather than an unwell, acidic state.
Sessions of aromatherapy can invite in a sense of well-being, balance subtle energies of the body and bring forth relaxation. In addiction recovery, aromatherapy allows for a sense of calm and relaxation to be achieved naturally.
is a Japanese hands-on healing technique which can treat physical pain as well as bringing a state of peace, calm and serenity, thereby increasing overall well-being.
Spiritual Counseling & Guidance
Traditional talk therapy with Recovery Oriented Spiritual support adds depth to the process of healing and reconnecting to one’s Authentic Core.
Relaxation & Sound Therapy
Through vibration, sound therapy is a viable medium to address stress response. Sound therapy affects the subtle energies of the body and can allow for emotional blockages to release in a safe way. Through the use of ‘Crystal Singing Bowls’ and ‘Tibetan Bells,’ sound therapy brings forth a state of relaxation. Sound therapy works much like the healing benefits which have been scientifically found by being immersed in a Dolphin’s sonar.
Crystal Energy Therapy & Chakra Re-Balancing
Healing properties of each individual crystal serve as physical and energetic symbology of healing. Learning to become more keen towards ancient teachings connects the subtle energies of the chakras, allowing one to become more in tune with the body’s needs. This approach to healing brings forth a connectivity to being oriented to greater aspects of Nature and also, Earth-Centric Spirituality.
Tapping & Reprogramming Meditation
Through this type of meditation, reconditioning patterns & unhealthy habits of addiction become replaced with healthy ways of thinking. This meditation assists with PTSD and persistent symptoms stemming from trauma. In this type of meditation, we learn how awareness to the breath and connecting to positive affirmative thinking, transforms and heals difficult emotional states.
Full Body Reflexology
Through this physiological healing modality, one can learn about inter-connected wholeness of the mind/body/spirit complex for total health.
Finding which facet of holistic recovery that works for each individual truly can be a fun and interesting part of on-going journey towards recovery. The journey of unchaining oneself from an addiction of any kind allows for the freedom to explore the endless terrain of what is beautiful, healing & available in our world. As the symbolic lyrics of the recovery community namesake song, “Wharf Rat” goes: “I’ll get back on my feet again someday, I’ll get a new start, live the life I should, I’ll get up and fly away…”
Everyone can have a new beginning of flying with that true freedom, and each person is worth that chance of a start of a new day.