Archive for October, 2016

meditationEach resident at St. Joseph will have a treatment schedule that can include fitness, yoga and meditation. Yoga offers amazing physical benefits–from increasing flexibility to building muscle tone–but more importantly, those who practice yoga and meditation learn how to manage stress and deal with negative emotions. Yoga sessions at St. Joseph are integrated with a practice called mindfulness. As described in our previous post, mindfulness meditation is more than sitting for a while in the cross-legged humming pose popularized by film and TV. It is a reflective activity in which the meditator reposes in a quiet place, engaging and then releasing any thought that comes to mind–including the most hurtful and negative considerations. This is a powerful technique for confronting the deep emotional harm addiction afflicts on individuals and families; it also empowers our residents to gain control of their emotions during the recovery process.

On the chemical level, yoga helps practitioners regulate stress by regulating the levels of two hormones: cortisol and adrenaline. Imbalances of these hormones can contribute to addiction, as well as some of its root causes like anxiety and depression. A study in the Journal of Alternative Medicine found that practicing yoga can even change the brain’s chemical composition. In the study, those who participated in an hour of yoga had increased levels of the neurotransmitter GABA, which is associated with controlling anxiety and depression.  Both on a chemical and emotional level, yoga can help those who struggle with addiction ameliorate some of the difficulties of recovery, and combat the issues that contributed to their addiction. Tommy Rosen, a recovery expert and yoga instruction, explains in the Huffington Post: Of course, one can stay sober without yoga and meditation. It’s just that if you want to lift yourself up out of the energy of addiction and break through to a new level of strength and awareness, one will have to adopt a practice that continues the detoxification process on a much deeper level.” Yoga is a valuable part of the recovery process at St Joseph, and it is also essential to many of our residents long-lasting, comprehensive recovery.

This topic, and others related to health and nutrition, will be covered in more detail in future posts. You can also learn more using the resources below:

Tommy Rosen’s Article about Yoga and Meditation for Addiction Recovery:

Yoga Journal: Yoga for Addiction Recovery:

VegitablesMany factors contribute to lasting recovery from addiction. St Joseph is dedicated to helping our residents improve their overall health and wellness,and that includes physical well-being. You may be surprised to learn that other aspects of a healthy lifestyle—such as good nutrition and exercise—can be powerful tools in the fight to overcome addiction. Both scientific research and experience attest to the value of these practices:

Because alcohol is high in calories, drinking can make one feel full even if he or she has eaten very little. As a result, many addicts suffer from malnutrition. Alcohol and drugs also make it difficult for the body to absorb nutrients, which can lead to a host of other health problems. Many people who abuse drugs and alcohol have chronic gastrointestinal disorders like diarrhea, constipation, and indigestion.

Recovery is about replacing negative behaviors with positive ones. Both during their time at our center and throughout recovery, residents are encouraged to include healthy eating habits in their journey to optimal health and wellness. In fact, because of the plethora of health problem associated with abusing drugs and alcohol, it’s particularly important for those in treatment to eat a diet that is high in nutrients and can help rebuild damaged organs and tissues. A diet with the right types of high protein and carb-rich foods can even ameliorate some of the symptoms of withdraw.

For example, drugs and alcohol prevent the body from processing tyrosine and tryptophan, two amino acids that are responsible for the production of neurotransmitters that control mood. Tyrosine is related to alertness, so eating protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, seafood and tofu can help those in recovery replenish helpful neurotransmitters and feel more active and alert. Tryptophan can have a calming effect and makes it easier to sleep; it is found in bananas, milk, turkey and sunflower seeds. On the other hand, both sugars and caffeine contribute to mood swings and should be avoided.

This site offers tips and healthy meal plans for those recovering from addiction: