Archive for February, 2017

Happy couple
Addiction is not just a physical affliction nor is it only emotional or mental. When it comes to recovering from drug or alcohol abuse, a successful comprehensive plan should include ways of understanding and treating your body, mind, and spirit.

That’s why gaining the ability to stop using drugs and alcohol is just one part of the whole-person care recovery process. By the time you enter a treatment facility, your addiction has taken over your life and has consumed your every waking moment. Your personal, professional, and social lives have all been but damaged.

Whole-Person Care Approach

Because addiction disrupts every part of an addict’s being, treatment must address the needs of the entire person for it to be successful. The goal of treatment is to provide you with an environment where you can heal, restore, and renew your life.

Similar to a holistic recovery, the whole-person approach builds on the realization that addiction is only a symptom of a much larger problem. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), one of the principles of effective addiction treatment is placing the emphasis on the multiple needs of a person, not just on his or her drug use. This includes a person’s medical, psychological, social, vocational, and legal issues. It is also important to make sure the treatment is suitable to a person’s age, gender, ethnicity, and culture.

While no single addiction treatment is suitable for all addicts, this program works with the client’s preferences and ideas. Some courses of treatment include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapies
  • Medication management
  • Detoxification
  • Individual, family, and group therapy
  • Personal training and cardiovascular exercise
  • 12-step programs
  • Alternative therapies such as animal assistance, art, or sports
  • Meditation

Treating the Whole Body

This type of treatment combines traditional and alternative-based therapies with a slant toward natural treatments and remedies instead of relying solely on pharmaceutical ones. The whole person care approach focuses on treating:
Mind: Specialists work with you to determine what led you to seek out substances in the first place. You can learn a new skill set for handling problems and challenges in your life.
Spirit: Besides counseling for your recovery, you may also receive treatments to help with stress, depression, anxiety, or similar conditions. Treatment options may include meditation, yoga, acupuncture, and spiritual instruction.
Body: Treatments such as nutritional education, exercise, massage, and a healthy diet help promote your well-being. Your body will probably be in need of repair and recuperation after being ravaged by alcohol or drugs. A strong body can help defend all types of illnesses and conditions.

How This Approach Works

The whole person care approach to recovery is a long-term treatment that focuses on self-improvement. It helps you identify the causes of your addiction, understand its triggers, and create a recovery plan. This program can help patients by:

  • Stopping the addiction earlier rather than later
  • Understanding the events that led to your substance abuse
  • Coping with triggers through relaxation, thought disruption, and visualization
  • Finding alternatives to drug and alcohol abuse

By working to bring the natural balance back to your life, empowering change, and building self-esteem, this approach has been shown to provide long-term recovery solutions instead of a short-term reprieve.

Addressing Other Health Issues

Those with addictions have the same medical issues as non-addicts, but their symptoms may be elevated because regular health care isn’t sought. About 45 percent of Americans seeking substance abuse treatment have been diagnosed with a co-occurring mental and substance use disorder.

Dental care is another health problem often plaguing addicts. For instance, if you are addicted to opioids, you may wind up with a dry mouth since this is one of the side effects. If your body does not produce enough saliva, bacteria will grow and cause tooth decay. Oftentimes, you won’t be thinking about brushing your teeth when you are addicted to drugs or alcohol. A whole-person approach to recovery will help address all related health issues, often by putting you in touch with other health specialists who can treat other concerns.

 
To learn more about our programs or for a campus tour  of St. Joseph Institute, please visit our website. You can also call us directly at 877-727-4465. 

Valentine’s Day is all about showing your love and appreciation for your significant other, but date night can feel awkward when you’re newly sober. Instead of worrying about how you’ll avoid the drinks at your favorite restaurant or club, why not plan an alternative Valentine’s Day date?

Create a Custom Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt can be a unique way to celebrate Valentine’s Day if you’re willing to put in the prep time. If you’ve been together for several years, your clues can lead to locations such as where you went on your first date, where you had your first kiss, and where you said “I love you” for the first time. If you’re a new couple, you can use simpler riddles leading to basic locations such as the glove box of your sweetheart’s car or inside her coat pocket. Whichever approach you choose, just make sure to be standing by with hints in case your partner has trouble deciphering each clue.

Don’t forget to have a special surprise waiting at the end of the hunt. Try a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a scrapbook of memories you’ve shared together, or tickets to an upcoming concert or sporting event.

Plan a Movie Marathon
Cuddling with your sweetheart under a cozy blanket while you share a tub of buttery popcorn is indescribably romantic. The possibilities are endless with this Valentine’s Day date idea, but here are a few film suggestions to inspire your creativity:

  • Grease with John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John
  • Ghost with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze
  • Titanic with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet
  • 50 First Dates with Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler
  • Twilight with Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart
  • The Notebook with Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdam

If you’d rather forgo the overly romantic movies, try sharing your favorite films with each other or binge watching a TV show on Netflix you’ve always wanted to see.

Get Moving
Any activity that keeps you moving will take your mind off your first sober Valentine’s Day. Physical activity releases endorphins, leading to feelings of closeness and connection. Biking or hiking through a favorite park or nature trail is always fun, especially if you plan a special picnic lunch at the end of the day.

For the young at heart, miniature golf is another wonderful Valentine’s Day date idea. Some mini golf courses also have go-karts, batting cages, paintball, or laser tag— giving you endless activity possibilities.

Learn Something New
The recovery process involves replacing past destructive behavior patterns with positive new coping mechanisms. One way to do this is by exploring new hobbies that you can enjoy by yourself or with your partner.

Community colleges have a number of adult continuing education classes you can take. Cooking and ballroom dancing classes tend to be the most popular choices for couples, but you’ll also find classes covering everything from aromatherapy to how to plant a garden in your backyard.

If you can’t find a class that interests you and your partner, plan to master a new skill together at home. For example:

  • Buy the ingredients to make each other a plate of homemade truffles instead of a store-bought box of chocolates.
  • Pick up a pair of white coffee mugs and oil-based paint Sharpie markers, then get in touch with your artistic side to make each other a sweet keepsake of your love.
  • Read each other classic love poems, then try to write your own romantic poetry.

Museums are another wonderful place to go when you’re looking for a drug and alcohol free way to expand your mind. Whether you’re passionate about art, history, or science, there are an abundance of museums to explore in almost every city in the country. Look for one offering guided tours, then plan to stop at the gift shop for a special memento of the day.

Staying active is an important element to good health. For people who are stuck in the cycle of drug or alcohol abuse, physical exercise is often one of the first parts of their routine that gets neglected.

Physical exercise is an important part of treatment for those who are in the early stages of recovery. In these early days, staying busy is important. The time that an addict used to fill with activities related to finding and using drugs or alcohol now needs to be filled with non-drug-related activities. Exercise is a good choice to help fill up this time, not only because it’s a common leisure activity, but also due to its effect on the brain.

Benefits of Personal Training on Addiction Recovery
Regular physical activity provides a number of benefits to those who are in recovery.

  • Regular Exercise Reduces Stress
    • As the physical dependency on drugs and alcohol gets broken, it’s important for addicts to repair their physical and psychological health. Part of addiction treatment involves learning new ways of dealing with emotions and tension. Exercise is a natural way to deal with stress and is healthier than using chemicals to relax or holding on to unnecessary stress.
  • Exercise Changes Brain Chemistry—for the Better
    • When someone exercises, their brain releases endorphins, which are the body’s “feel good” chemicals. The person experiences feelings of pleasure, which are a type of natural “high.” These are the same brain chemicals released when someone abuses substances. Substance abuse interferes with the normal release of brain chemicals to feel pleasure and happiness from anything other than using substances.
    • With time, regular exercise reintroduces natural levels of endorphins into the system. The addict’s body learns to feel better physically over time. They also relearn that they can experience pleasure from experiences that don’t involve using chemicals.
  • Exercise is a Way to Relieve Boredom
    • For a person in recovery, having large blocks of free time with nothing to do is something that should be avoided. Exercise is something that can be included in a daily routine to fill in part of the day. There are a number of activities that can be enjoyed with others, which makes exercising a way to meet new people who aren’t part of an addict’s former lifestyle. Taking an exercise class or playing a team sport is a way recovering addicts can get involved in sober activities and move away from their former circle of friends. This leads them to activities that don’t trigger the urge to drink or do drugs.
  • Regular Exercise Improves Mood
    • As a person in recovery begins to feel better physically, their outlook on life follows suit. People who exercise regularly have increased self-confidence and are less likely to feel anxious or depressed.
  • Participating in an Activity is Fun
    • Addicts who have spent years feeding their addiction may have lost the capacity to simply enjoy themselves by participating in some type of physical activity. Exercising doesn’t have to involve anything fancy or expensive. You can start by putting on a sturdy pair of shoes and going for a brisk walk. It won’t take long for someone in recovery to notice that once they feel better, they’ll start increasing their exercise as part of their new, sober lifestyle.

St. Joseph Institute offers a variety of exercise options, from hiking across our wooded campus, to exercising in the weight room, or swimming in our endless pool. If you or someone you love needs help with an addiction problem, please call us anytime at 888-352-3297.