The “Wellness Approach to Addiction Recovery” that I created through trial and error in finding what resonated with me, can also help you to heal, and to manage the disease of addiction. I do strongly suggest that you find a treatment facility to begin a medically supervised detox program, one that is open to holistic healing and practices. Once you are stabilized physically, mentally and emotionally, I believe that with my guidance in my program through nourishing your body, mind, and soul holistically, you will be able to maintain a successful, lifelong recovery where you can be pro-active on your journey, and enjoy the experience along the way because YOU will choose the various modalities that feel right for YOU. This is your life, your journey, your choice. No two people will recover exactly the same, but we can support each other in sharing our experiences and knowledge with others. “Take what works and leave the rest.”
I have followed and practiced the following seven steps throughout my addiction recovery. These steps are my guidelines in healing and managing my disease through natural and organic solutions. Keep in mind that there are many ways to recover.
Step 1: Reflection
I believe that to make changes in any behavior, we must look back at where we have emerged from to see and understand our mistakes with self-love and compassion. Only through reflection and clarity, are we able to bring about positive change and become more evolved.
As I reflected over my lifelong addiction and path of destruction where I lost everyone and everything that was dear to me, I realized that I had arrived at a point in my life at 54 years old where I either had to make a choice to accept the realization that I would die very soon, or I could make a choice to ask for help. I felt a sense of relief at this realization, because in a brief moment of clarity, I realized I was the only one who had the power to fix this….along with some Divine guidance.
Looking back at my history of addiction, trauma, PTSD, mental health challenges, and eating disorders, I felt a spiritual awakening, a Divine intervention telling me that I was ready and willing to “Own It” and “Ask for help,” which are the next two steps in my R.O.A.M.I.N.G. IN RECOVERY model.
Reflection of this magnitude offers clarity, self-awareness and growth, and should be shared with someone who is trained to help maximize this experience, such as myself who is trained to explore the behaviors that led you to using drugs and alcohol.
Keep A Diary
Write down everything that you remember that led to your addiction. Include foods that you have eaten as a lifestyle, and behaviors that haven’t served you in relationships, work environment, self-talk. Asking yourself the right thought-provoking questions can be an eye-opening experience, and then sharing it with a Holistic Health Coach or other Holistic Health professional trained in this area, allows you to experience an additional perspective.
I still keep a journal and share everything with my closest confidante/holistic empowerment/life coach/C.S.W./friend/mentor/“soul mother,” Sheila Pearl, weekly, just to get clarity, perspective, and validation that what I am feeling is important, and even vital to my growth and healing in continuing to be a survivor of this disease. Don’t stay in the past for too long. Focus on the present, and the future. How can your present choices change your life in a positive way, which ultimately changes your future? YOU have the all the answers inside of yourself. Take your time with this. Think it through carefully. Write every day, and include one thing that is good and positive in your life. What are you grateful for today?
Here are some of the questions that I’ve used to reflect in my recovery, and that I use with my clients. If you are thinking about addiction recovery, I suggest that you have an intimate and honest conversation with yourself, and ask yourself the following questions, then share with a professional:
- What major fear will you be addressing if you decide to get/stay clean and sober?
- What is the worst outcome that you imagine? Best outcome? Play it all the way through in your mind. Write it down.
- What are you committed to doing? What are you willing to do every day this week? What would be the very first step you could take in the next 24 hours? 7 days? What would your life look like in 30 days if you follow through?
- What is your intuition telling you?
- What would happen if you lowered your expectations?
- What are moments of choice in this situation? How do they serve you? Do not serve you? What can you control in this situation?
- What would getting clean and sober mean to you? What would your GIFT be in this challenge?
- How will it be different once you find a solution and make the necessary changes?
Step 2: Own It
Over the years I had some moments of honest clarity, and knew I needed help. I was so afraid to “own it,” because if I said it out loud to myself, another person, or the Universe, I would have to admit that I was ill. I knew I would die if I didn’t tell someone, and so I prayed continuously for Divine guidance, and in early 2013, I heard myself say, “I need help. I am addicted to prescription drugs” to my primary care physician, and family members.
With strength from the Divine, and trust in knowing I could navigate through this storm, I began my journey of healing through a wellness approach. One must be painfully honest with oneself in order for this step to be successful. There is absolutely NO place for blame on other people or situations, only taking full ownership and practicing self-forgiveness will offer you the freedom to begin a clean and honest journey of recovery. I eventually learned that addiction is a brain disease, so it was not my fault. The behaviors that manifested throughout my addiction were caused by many deficiencies in my brain, and in my body. “Owning” my disease gave me the freedom to realize that I needed treatment to arrest and manage this disease, and the only thing I needed to do was to ask for help.
Step 3: Ask For Help
Keep in mind that part of addiction is caused by a lack of communication of our feelings. We need to learn how to feel our emotions rather than judging or fearing them, and learning and practicing coping skills to navigate through our feelings. So, when I found the inner strength to ask for help, I was no longer alone.
This was an “aha” moment because another part of addiction is isolating oneself, and once I asked for help, I took that leap into starting my journey of recovery where I no longer would carry this burden alone. There were many roads that opened up for me to take to my destination of recovery, and I chose to follow the road that would offer me specific tools that resonated with me which I found in holistic healing.
After my initial 32 day stay in rehab, I began working with a Functional Medicine Physician, Holistic Health Coach/Practitioner, and Life Skills Coach. I began practicing a variety of alternative healing modalities such as Acupuncture, EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques), Guided Meditation/Yoga, Raindrop Therapy, etc., and began using essential oils, prayer, music and writing as my daily “go-to’s” for balance and centering myself.
As I began to ask questions, (by the way, question EVERYTHING!) study and learn, I became more and more curious about healing holistically, and began to feel a fire in my belly! The more I inquired and learned, the hungrier I became to learn more. I began to keep notebooks with mounds of research notes, recipes, information about a variety of holistic modalities that would benefit my recovery, and resources that all revolved around natural and organic solutions. This helped a great deal as I recovered because it helped me to continue to ask insightful questions in my quest for natural healing from addiction, and eventually led me to study to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach and Practitioner!
Step 4: Moving On And Manifesting My Destiny!
I believe that there is a Divine force that helps us to co-create our miracles! I believe that God/Universe and I, have worked together to create the magnificent life I live each day. Once I asked for, and received the help I needed to treat and manage my disease, it was time to move on and manifest my destiny!
I began by being very gentle and kind with myself, and creating a new mindset that encompassed self-love, self-care, spirituality, and setting boundaries that would protect me, and allow me to feel comfortable saying, “Yes,” or saying, “No,” when I deemed it appropriate. I moved away from the people, places and things that had any connection to my addiction, which also allowed me to make new, healthier choices in manifesting my desires and dreams in my new life. I needed to take time, and I am still taking time, to get to know myself after 4 decades of addiction.
I began to implement holistic modalities that included good nutrition, having a weekly dialogue with my coach/practitioner that allowed me to check in with myself and also provided me with accountability, loving, healthy relationships, exercise, prayer, acupuncture, Functional medicine, meditation, writing, music, and service to others. This also included having an ongoing dialogue about addiction to promote positive change, and to offer hope to those still suffering with addiction. It is so important to understand that shame has no place in recovery as addiction is a very real brain disease. Like any other disease, patients must be given respect, empathy, love and guidance. This has all become a part of my new life as I continue to co-create and manifest positive change for myself, and others, with Divine guidance.
If you remain positive and focused, and go forward with grace and ease, as slowly as a turtle, believe in yourself, and in an extraordinary spiritual connection, as I did, and if you realize that with faith, hope and love, anything is possible, you will be able to move on and manifest!
Step 5: Ignite Your Enthusiasm!!
Find your passion and share it with others! I have an enthusiastic energy level that I call “Igniting Your Enthusiasm.” My passion of holistic living and my Holistic Health Practice gives me focus and energy, and is a meaningful declaration of victory over my former addiction! Think about a favorite motivational quote that renews your belief in yourself, and in others, and repeat it as you look in the mirror.
It’s a small, but effective way of energizing your thoughts, words, and outlook, and it just may be instrumental in helping you to attract great opportunities and amazing results! Have confidence, and remain determined to succeed! Your goal is to find your own way to an exciting new life… enthusiastically!
Sobriety is a process that sometimes meets with resistance, but if you stay focused, positive and remember the amazing power behind our own words and thoughts, you cannot lose!
I have compiled a list of fun and productive activities that are an awesome way to stay focused, especially in the early stages of recovery when you may be shaky, and uncertain. During the winter months when it is difficult to get outside and keep busy, I have found some of these activities beneficial in helping me to navigate a clear path on my road to a continued successful recovery:
- Learn a new language!
- Turn up the music, and move!
- Go to the gym for a workout, or dance class, or work out at home with someone!
- Take an online class in something you are passionate about!
- Yoga or Meditation!
- Volunteer! Find a place that “Ignites YourEnthusiasm!”
- Learn to play an instrument!
- Cook something new and challenging!
- Be spontaneous! Take a road trip to someplace you’ve always wanted to go!
- Write! Write! Write! Tell your story! It is both cathartic, and it may help someone else!
Step 6: Nutritional Support For The Body, Mind, And Soul
Implement lifestyle changes that are sustainable, and that promotes feelings of harmony!
- Organic nutritional support using sustainable, natural and organic solutions such as organic greens, organic protein and water, and excluding harmful and toxic substances such as sugar, gluten, dairy and grains.
- Eat and exercise for your blood type! (Please contact me at [email protected] for more info)
- Find a Certified Holistic Health Practitioner/Coach, or Empowerment/Life Coach who is open to Holistic healing and treatment. You can check my website com for resources of professionals that I have personally used in my own recovery.
- For stress management, exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Take a walk, do cardio, resistance training, Pilates/Yoga. Exercise naturally releases GABA which is a calming neurotransmitter that boosts dopamine and neuropinephrine, the happy, feel good neurotransmitters!
- Practice self-love, self-care, patience and empathy with yourself.
- Find a spiritual practice that truly touches your soul. Pray and/or meditate daily. Be humble and grateful. Give thanks for your blessings. Get outdoors and enjoy nature each day!
- Surround yourself with emotionally intelligent people. This leads to healthy, loving, nurturing relationships that will enhance your life.
- Put a loving and reliable support system into your life where you can be accountable to at least one other person. This promotes feelings of connection and purpose.
- Use to do lists, create a vision board, set an intention and short term goals each day early in the morning, and check in with yourself and your accountability partner in the evening to revisit. Take advantage of groups in your detox/rehab. Everyone is experiencing the same feelings and you can support each other. Use meditation/yoga/soothing music to relax your body and mind.
- Find your passion, live it, and share it! It gives a sense of pride in oneself, accomplishment, and it is cathartic and helpful to give away what you have discovered!
- Write daily. I have found my writing to be a great source of self therapy as I examine my behavior and intentions, and then ask myself what can I change for tomorrow that could enhance my life, and my loved ones?
- Pay it forward by being of service to others!
Step 7: Growing And Embracing Change:
“When We Have An Opportunity To Create Positive Change In Our Relationships, And Within Ourselves, It Is A Mindful Decision To Grow And Heal, And To Live And Love. Change Is Inevitable, Growth Is Fortuitous. We Only Grow When We Choose To Embrace Change” – Wendy Blanchard, M.S., Chhc
- Practice daily self-assessment by keeping a journal, and reflecting by recording positive changes that you practice and see in yourself, and one thing that you would like to work on changing, and re-assess once a week.
- Be mindful of your words, behavior, and of others.
- Observe, don’t react. Take time to think and breathe before you speak, and choose your words to reflect who you truly are. Be kind to yourself, and others.
- Smile from the inside out each day as growth begins on the inside.
- Practice setting daily intentions. Find your balance through a variety of holistic modalities. Practice acceptance. Strive to grow and to learn, and use natural and organic solutions to sustain a lifelong successful recovery!
- Enjoy all of life’s blessings, spend quality time with loved ones, and lead by example!
R.O.A.M.I.N.G. In Addiction Recovery Is A Way Of Finding What Works For You Through Trial And Error. Enjoy The Journey!
Wishing you harmonious health 4 life!
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