Thursday, July 19, 2012

Physical Health in Addiction Recovery

Addiction is a disease that affects the body, mind and spirit. Apart from the action of physically abstaining from the alcohol and recreational drugs, most people in recovery are not given further advice in regards to addressing the physical effect of the disease on your body. Many recovering alcoholics are not aware that, late in his life, Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson was trying to educate doctors on the importance of vitamin supplementation in the treatment of alcoholism. In the A.A. text, there are references to the physical damage from addiction such as:
“… the acute poisoning from which he suffered, how it deteriorates the body of an alcoholic…” Alcoholics Anonymous p.157
The main reasons to address your physical health in recovery are: 

1. To aid in staying clean and sober, give your relapse prevention a boost. Taking certain actions can give you a physical advantage, i.e. addressing cravings by balancing your blood sugar, to help you stay away from a drink or drug. Remember, half of H.A.L.T. is purely physical (Hungry, Tired). Plus, addressing your physical health can support your mental and spiritual recovery too!

2. To help reverse the internal damage done, decrease chances of future health challenges, and enhance quality of life so that recovery can be enjoyed to the fullest and your capacity for service work maximized.
“A body badly burned by alcohol does not often recover overnight” A.A., p. 133
Self-sabotage, risky behavior and a conscious or subconscious death-wish naturally accompany active addiction. As a result of an attitude shift after putting down the drug, you may suddenly realize that you are likely to live a lot longer than you perhaps previously (consciously or subconsciously) anticipated. Depending on how long you have been sober, perhaps that thought has already crossed your mind. So once you have accepted that you are likely to live a longer life sober, why not start treating your body right so that you can enjoy quality of life in the quantity available to you now. Assuming you didn’t get sober to be chronically sick, tired and miserable; you really ought to consider how to address this critical physical aspect of your recovery.

Awareness + Action = Results. To create an action plan for your physical health and wellness in recovery, you can seek out a professional coach who specializes in wellness and addiction recovery, or a clinical nutritionist or naturopathic physician who has experience working with recovering alcoholics and addicts.

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