Blog Posts and Articles
Reclaim Your Health: Self-Care for Opiate Addiction
Written by Adam Cook
It was once said that your body is the only place you have to live. No matter where we go in the world, it is our body that takes us there and is the vehicle through which we experience it. When on the road to addiction recovery, self-care and healing the mind and body are vital to a successful and long-term sobriety.
The Sea Change
An important aspect of recovery is understanding that you have to make considerable changes in your life. According to the National Institute of Health, there are five general rules for recovery, and one of the rules includes the importance of practicing self-care. It’s essential to take time and effort to care for your personal needs and focus on necessary changes in your life. Reclaiming your health after prolonged substance abuse isn’t easy, but it’s absolutely possible. Make self-care a priority and seek support as needed throughout your journey. The sober path will challenge you physically, mentally and spiritually, but with the right habits and consistency, it can be the healthiest life you’ve ever lived.
Staying clean requires a multifaceted approach to life. Taking care of the body means fortifying your physical and mental resistance to temptation and harmful behavior. One way is through diet and exercise. Livestrong suggests engaging in physical activity creates positive neurological effects that release certain “feel good” chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, which generates natural feelings of euphoria. The Chicago Tribune reported that exercise can also reverse or mitigate damage to the brain caused by overuse of substances. Increasing these brain chemicals can help improve mood, self-esteem and well-being.
Physical exercise will also improve overall health by increasing muscle mass, mobility and improve energy throughout the day. At the same time, you are likely to have an easier time falling and staying asleep at night. Exercise is known as the natural antidepressant and it makes everything work a little better.
Keeping the body active is imperative to good health, but without a change in the fuel you consume, the gains might not be as substantial. Always follow an exercise program with a clean and healthy diet. Follow a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Stay away from inflammatory foods that don’t give your body any nutrients and increase inflammation and the risk for injury. Sugar also has a similar effect as some drugs on the brain, which makes it especially dangerous to people in recovery trying to kick cravings.
The body and mind are inextricably connected, but nourishing the mind in a variety of ways can work in conjunction with the physical benefits. Practicing mindfulness through meditation can be an alternative way to support a holistic approach to recovery. According to the Huffington Post, a mindfulness approach attacks the very roots of addictive behavior, negative emotions and cravings. Mindfulness training includes a more self-reflective and intimate approach to understanding one’s own temptations and weaknesses.
Find a Passion
As stated above, self-care requires that you look inward and assess what might be the best way to alter your life and circumstances. Investing your energy in something that you love or believe in can be a great way to care for yourself and fulfill a sense of purpose and optimism. Many recovering addicts often find a new hobby or challenge that serves as a life rope to staying sober. This helps people become reinvested in themselves and to learn how to love and care for themselves again.
Your health is the clearest path toward a long-term recovery. Learning to love yourself is learning to love the world again. Strengthening the body, increasing awareness and self-discipline, as well as making healthy choices, will ensure that you are not running away from your past, but rather actively working toward your future.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Mr. Cook is the founder of Addiction Hub, which locates and catalogs addiction resources. He is interested in helping people find the necessary resources to save their lives from addiction. Adam’s mission is to provide people struggling with substance abuse with resources to help them recover.
Please consider attending this event being held at Lion’s Park, West Liberty, Ohio on Saturday, July 15, beginning at 7:00 pm. This is a beautiful gathering to honor young lives lost too soon.
I have registration information available in my office or register online at younglifememorial.eventbrite.com.
Veterans Crisis Line: 1.800.273.8255 Press 1
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1.800.273.8255