Addiction treatment is never simple. Even from a purely biomechanical standpoint, you are essentially waiting for your body to rewrite its own rules. That means changing what nerves respond to what stimulus, as well as how they respond to it.
On top of that, you have the actual medical aide you receive. Plants pounded into powder, sometimes boiled and sometimes frozen, then mixed together at dizzying speeds. All so you can take a pill that makes your unbearable headache threaten to be bearable.
It is no wonder that most addiction treatment plans focus so heavily on the physical side of things. For all the complicated anatomy, chemistry, and math that goes into studying addiction’s effects on the body, at least all of that is reduceable to reproducible outcomes.
What is not as well-understood is the human mind. That is where “Holistic Therapy” comes into addiction recovery. But what is holistic recovery specifically? Let’s examine it more closely.
Holistic Recovery in Three Parts
Normal addiction treatment plans take care of the body, but the holistic treatment takes care of everything else. This confuses many people, as there is a common sense that a person and their body are the same things. But consider this: What about your social circle?
Is your social circle part of you? It’s not attached to you. You do not have nerve endings and blood vessels running through each of your friends. And yet if someone you are even mildly acquainted with were to disappear, you would definitely be affected by their absence.
In the case of closer relationships, you might even feel pain when they are in pain. Clearly, there is something more complex going on there than what is materially visible.
We are not speaking spiritually though. In a strictly physical sense, you are connected to your social circle. That is what holistic recovery focuses on: Not your social circle exclusively, but rather it focuses on every part of you that is not attached to you in the most literal sense.
For that reason, you can consider holistic recovery to deal with three essential components of the non-physical “you”: Your social circle, your mental state, and your environment. Let’s go deeper by examining how addiction and treatment affect each of these factors one at a time.
Treating Your Social Circle
For some people, it’s friends that invite them out drinking all the time. For others, it’s friends that don’t want to do anything with their recreation time except smoke weed. These are the people who directly introduce addictive substances into your life.
Then, there are the people that do not directly introduce addictive substances but encourage addictive behavior. Most of the time that means people who criticize, bully, or in some other way add stress to your life. Long-term stress like this demands a long-term solution, and for many people who are unable to get away from those people, substance abuse is that solution.
In short, these are the problems your social circle can present to your addiction. Holistic treatment means acknowledging this, examining how it can be addressed, and then seeking to solve the problem. “Solving the problem” does not mean getting rid of friends most times.
Sometimes the best solution to the problem is communication. Tell people how they make you feel, what activities they take part in that you can no longer join them in, and what behavior they need to change. Asking other people to do things for you is never easy, but that is your last line of defense against cutting them off entirely. You do not need that stress in your life.
Treating Your Mental State
When considering your mental state, you should think of it in two ways. The first way is the chemicals that both cause and are caused by your mental state. If your brain does not release the right hormones, then you will be depressed no matter how positively you think.
The second way is your mental state in terms of which thoughts you choose to take ownership of. We are careful not to say, “what thoughts do you think”, as no one has perfect control over which thoughts they think. But you do get to decide which thoughts are “you”.
Holistic therapy means dealing with both of these in their own way. It means trying different antidepressants and antianxiety medications in order to keep your brain’s cycles of tension and relaxation from being overwhelming. This happens to relate to your sleep cycles too.
It also means becoming an active participant in your own thoughts. When you are an addict, you can’t just let your thoughts control you. You have to control them. That means choosing to believe that you will get better and choosing to believe you don’t need what you’re addicted to.
As a side note, yes. That does mean getting therapy. Anyone who is dealing with addiction needs to get therapy.
Treating Your Environment
Imagine that you just never washed your hands. And not just that you didn’t wash them after using the restroom, but you also wrapped them in plastic whenever you showered to ensure they didn’t get washed. Not only would they be dirty. They would be a health hazard.
Holistic treatment includes cleaning your environment just as diligently as you wash any other part of your body. But that does not just mean cleaning your room. It also means dealing with your workplace, where you probably spend a lot of your time. And on top of that, it means making sure that the places you spend your recreation time are drug-free.
Any place that contributes to your addiction needs to be changed or avoided.
There is a saying that goes, “It takes a village to raise a child.” No human being can exist alone. The people and places around us determine who we are, as do the thoughts in our heads, even if we cannot see them. Holistic therapy in addiction recovery means treating those things too.
Visit New Waters Recovery if you need more information.