Getting sober was not a walk in the park. It took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears — it’s definitely something to be proud of. It took me a while to realize that my recovery wasn’t just about staying sober. It was my chance to reclaim my mind, body, and soul. I took being clean to a whole new level, and I’m better for it today. I started eating right, began walking with my new neighbor (and made a great friend in the process), and finally picked up The PIllars of the Earth, a book I have wanted to read since I was in high school. Along my path to sobriety, I learned a few things, and I’d like to share them with you.
Health is more than fitness and good food
You know what it means to be physically well, but what else is there? Samhsa.gov explains there are eight dimensions of overall wellness:
- Emotional: Feeling good and having healthy relationships.
- Environmental: Having a positive, supportive environment.
- Financial: Having enough money to feel safe and buy essentials.
- Intellectual: Learning and having stimulating challenges.
- Occupational: Enjoying your work.
- Physical: Eating right, getting exercise, and sleeping enough.
- Social: Spending time with friends and family having fun.
- Spiritual: Having a sense of purpose and meaning.
This might seem overwhelming, but it’s just common sense. Being well means a lot more than exercising or avoiding stress. You are a complex individual, so addressing your wellness can’t be overly simple.
Being well requires thoughtfulness each day
Although you need to worry about eight dimensions of overall wellness, there are some simple things you can do to address them. US News & World Report explains that a few changes in your diet can help with several of those dimensions while in addiction recovery. For example, avoid sugary and fatty foods when you can, as recovering addicts often wrestle with cravings for those unhealthy foods. As for me, I still crave ice cream but have learned to indulge in moderation. I’ve realized that food tastes better these days and I honestly don’t need to overeat to feel satisfied.
To really help keep you on track, you need a weekly checklist. This is a list you can refer to each week to make sure you’re tending to your overall wellness. Some examples include:
- Setting personal goals related to your wellness.
- Avoiding people that enabled your addiction.
- Improving your relationship with a friend or partner.
- Exercising and eating right.
These need to be individualized to your lifestyle; I wanted to drop five pounds, stop going to the gas station by my house where my downward spiral began, meet new people, and learn to like broccoli. (I will admit that I still haven’t accomplished that last goal.) Spend time determining what supports the eight dimensions of wellness for you.
What stimulates your intellect? Is your current job working for you? What exercise do you enjoy? Use these examples to make your own version of that checklist and use it weekly.
Modern medicine can’t touch natural wellness modalities
Besides working on that checklist, it’s helpful to find a holistic therapy that interests you. These are treatments that work on your overall wellness during addiction recovery. Instead of just treating a physical ailment, they do that and much more. As The Treehouse notes, holistic therapies can also assist people in addiction recovery. Some examples of these treatments include:
- Meditation and yoga
- Herbal treatments
My issue has always been lack of sleep. I never get quite enough each night. I have found that doing yoga before bed really helps. Here is a link to my 10 minute pre-sleep routine.
Your journey through addiction recovery is important. As you learned when getting sober, it’s also something you need help with — but something you can do. Understand what wellness means for you, then create a checklist to find ways to support yourself. And with some changes in your diet and the addition of holistic therapies, you can use this time as a great opportunity to improve your overall health.
Today, I am a whole. I feel things more deeply, I enjoy the subtle nuances of the day that make my life unique, and I’ve come to terms with my past. My hope is that you will, too.