Addiction is a term that is often attached to stigma and stereotypes of all sorts, whether it’s our perception of someone who is homeless, living under a bridge, or drinking from a brown paper bag. Addiction goes far beyond these ideas and perceptions created either by society or our lack of knowledge or experience on the topic.
Addiction is powerful, cunning, and baffling. It can destroy lives of the one affected and those who are connected to its victim. Addiction does not judge by age, race, sexual identity, creed, religion or lack of religion. It will falsely mislead you to believe that you’re achieving a life of happiness and joy, but in the end, it will back you up into a corner of isolation, misery and despair.
The good news? If fought carefully, addiction can be arrested and a new way of life (full of serenity!) can be found, earned, and sustained.
Various services including counselling, short and long term treatment centers, 12-step programs, hypnosis, and meditation are available to one battling addiction. The end goal many want is to obtain a life free from the use of substance, but the gifts go beyond that.
Here are three major ways to help work through addiction:
The most crucial foundation of recovery, is to focus on the social connection we have with one another, the world around us, and most importantly, the one with our self.
Actively participating in and seeking strong social connections allows us to be human and relate to another human being through the emotion of love, compassion, empathy, service, and gratitude.
Social connection can often help beat addiction over any expensive therapist, book, or treatment center. When we can sit together with another human being, expose ourselves, get vulnerable, and know that someone else can feel what we feel and can understand what we are going through, then we feel something larger than just ourselves.
Another great way to combat addiction is to add fitness to your treatment plan. Physically moving your body in a deliberate, mindful way can have a huge impact on mental health, and therefore addiction. Science has proven that the endorphins that your body naturally releases when exercising creates a chain reaction leading to feelings of happiness, control, clarity, and even euphoria.
Even better? Moving with other people. This ties in the social aspect of beating addiction to the physical one. Hiking with a friend of family member, attending group fitness classes, going for a walk with a neighbour, or even joining an online Facebook group that posts daily about fitness goals and workouts can be incredibly helpful to one seeking increased mental health and addiction recovery.
The third piece of the pie (so to speak!) is nutrition—feeding your brain to succeed in working for you, and not against you. We all know that too much sugar can spike insulin levels and result in a crash that exhausts us. We know that too much saturated fat makes us gain weight, feel lethargic, and creates new health issues for us.
So by avoiding nutrition mistakes, you really do give yourself a better chance of obtaining a healthier brain and body.
Foods that help to build a healthier body and mind include plants, whole grains, plant-based proteins, water, herbal teas, good quality vitamins, and probiotics. These foods help your body to work efficiently and productively, and afford you more energy, better sleep, and allow you to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight.
It’s important to remember that although there are a variety of healthy ways to recover from an addiction or substance abuse, the best one includes being social.
Humans are social beings and sharing an experience and/or having someone else go through a drastic change is a must. Most people will feel angry, lonely and tired when going through a recovery process. Just like any goals in life, we have to give our bodies a chance to heal and change one step at a time. It’s easy to rush this process and get frustrated when we don’t see the results we want (or as fast as we want). It’s all about finding a healthy lifestyle that fits your individual needs.
On a side note, I’m currently studying sugar addiction and how it affects the human body physically and mentally. I’m working on putting together a detox plan for this, so stay tuned for that!
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