Addiction Support

I have been promising Adam Cook to put a guest article on my page for some time.  He is concerned with addictions. I was an addictions counselor in my earlier career before retiring and working with dream counseling. I love the way he lists out all the thing that are helpful.

Adam’s work in this article is to show us some important things to look out for in working through issues. His mission is aligned with AddictionHub’s to help people find support with issues relating to addiction.

The following is Adam’s article.

Artwork by Rose

Recovering from addiction is hard.  Determination is required to get past the isolation, mental blocks and depression of withdrawal.  It is, however, possible for addicts to overcome these issues. Here are a few tips for those in recovery to get their lives back on track, so they can truly thrive.

The importance of connectivity

One of the deepest human needs is for bonding on a deep level.  Social connectionis a critical part of overall mental health and well-being.  As such, the lack of connection is one of the main causes of addiction.  Over the past few decades, a lack of social bonding has been repeatedly tied to increased drug use. However, the opposite is also true, and, in many cases, inserting social interaction back into the life of an addict greatly eases the recovery process.  Connection is paramount in recovery, so getting into some kind of social group is critical. Consider joining a class – yoga and meditationclasses are easy to find and have the added benefit of helping develop your mental health. 

Mindfulness meditationhelps to focus yourself on the root causes of your addiction, ultimately allowing yourself to release the negative emotions and come to terms with your experiences.  In a group setting, it can also provide support in emotionally vulnerable moments. 

Follow a regular exercise regimen

Regular exercise has proven benefits to contribute to your recovery.  To start with, exercise– particularly cardio – releases good-feeling chemicals like endorphins and serotonin in your brain, which create a high feeling that may ease withdrawal and also boost feelings of self-value and self-esteem.  Addiction rewires the way your brain operates, but exercise helps foster the development of new neural pathways and creates new neurons in the hippocampus, which controls learning and memory.  Together, these neurological effects help to heal your brain. The best part is that there are plenty of exercise optionsto explore such as walking, swimming, or group fitness classes, and they all boost your recovery. 

The other major part of exercise is the establishment of a routine.  Routines combat withdrawal because they provide something for the recovering addict to expect and anticipate.  If you choose to do your daily exercise at the same time when you would have used drugs or alcohol, you can take care of that step in your routine while fostering your physical and mental health.  Finally, exercise also reduces the stress hormones in your body, making it easier for you to get a full night’s sleep and wake up refreshed the next day.

Spend time in nature

When you’re experiencing withdrawal, it can be tempting to sit quietly at home all the time. However, nature can be surprisingly helpful.  A series of studies found that people can feel psychologically renewed after just fifteen minutes of time spent outdoors.  Adding in a short walk or a deeper level of nature (a hiking trail as opposed to an urban park, for instance) heightened the positive effects.  Increasing the exposure to an hour or more began to show similar neurological effects to exercise, effects that could combat depression and increase feelings of interconnectivity.  

Additionally, it’s difficult to refocus your life when you’re dealing with constant levels of stress.  Nature can help – going for a walk outdoors each day significantly lower your regular, resting amount of stress hormones.  These effects have been even more pronounced in people dealing with disorders or addiction. 

Find a hobby you enjoy

One final simple way to reset your life is by acquiring a hobby or two.  While it may seem overly easy, having something that you enjoy and look forward to can be powerfully impactful for recovery, greatly reducing the chances of a relapse.  Learning a hobby in a group setting can also boost your self-confidence while providing a group of supportive, like-minded individuals. Finally, hobbies – even ones as simple as reading a book or birdwatching – stimulate your mind, forming additional neurons and extending your mind’s longevity.

The most important part of recovery is connection.  Whether you pursue meditation, group exercise classes, hiking, or birdwatching, try to find a group to join.  With time and support, you can overcome your addiction and begin to thrive.

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About rlongwort

Licensed Professional Counselor. Dream specialist.
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