There was a time not that long ago, that when you entered into a room of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous you’d be met with a giant cloud of smoke. The smoke would hang in the air appearing to cause its own weather system as people frantically reached for their pack to light up another one.
This was indicative of the time and for a long period of the 12 Steps’ existence physicians and other medical personnel condoned smoking as a great way to alleviate stress. But this is no longer the case and with the increased knowledge we have today pertaining to medical matters, and the link between the mind and body, recovery has become an all-encompassing affair.
Gone are the days when to just focus on the spiritual nature of the disease was enough,often the requirement to start life again based on rock bottom being the beautiful place to start. For many years the prevailing belief was that one had to hit a low bottom in order to start over. Today that is not necessarily the case. Just like people today choose to take a more holistic approach to recovery, one where they ensure the care of their mind, body, and spirit. That is also the case with when to start the process of recovery. Today more and more people seeing prevention and education as key tools as well as early intervention.
You can see this new trend in the growing number of treatment centers that offer holistic programs to their clients. Whereas acupuncture, yoga, massage therapy, and exercise were not the norm just 10 years ago, many treatment centers today now offer them as a common part of their treatment structure.
This trend toward holistic recovery has been the case for me and a large part of my recovery is centered on making sure that I am experiencing total health—meaning that I am mentally, physically, and spiritually fit.
It is not enough that I have embarked upon a spiritual way of life, but I also want to make sure that the rest of my health is taken care of as well. I don’t want to wind up in a position where I am 10 years sober and feel the presence of God in my daily life but am suffering from hypertension and other medical issues because I neglected my body for so many years.
Going along with this belief of mine is the fact that I do not believe that a person can truly experience all of the benefits that recovery has to offer if they do not also take care of their mind and body. They only get 1/3 of what recovery has to offer and for a person like myself, this is just not enough.
So what sort of things do I partake in, in order to holistically live in recovery? First and foremost I exercise and have a yoga practice. Yoga has become a huge part of my life and the benefits that I reap from doing yoga are innumerable. For one I have always found it difficult to be still and quiet my thoughts, but yoga has allowed me to do so. Through the act of stretching, posing, and watching my breath, I am able to reduce my thoughts down a manageable level. I always feel more relaxed and an overall feeling of well-being once I am done with yoga.
I also have a dietary plan that I follow. This is partially because I also have an eating disorder, so I have to stick to a schedule of eating and watch the things that I put in my body, but I’d like to think that even if I didn’t I would still watch what I ate.
Your diet plays a surprisingly large role in your mental well being and so if you are constantly eating fast food and junk, then not only will you have a lot less energy but also your thinking can become clouded and you can experience depression. So eating healthy promotes overall wellness and also allows you to not have to experience certain health concerns later on down the road.
Another thing that I do in order to promote holistic living in my life is that I go to a therapist. To some people psychotherapy and holistic may not seem to go into the same category, but holistic living is simply ensuring that all assets of your being are taken care.
I have found therapy to be incredibly important in my recovery and this is because the 12 Steps are not a catch-all for every problem. Yes, I understand that in the end seeking God and trusting him is the answer, but for some of life’s problems, just going to meetings and praying does not seem to be enough. After all did God not put therapists on this planet for a reason? I believe so, so we might as well make use of them.
Going to therapy has allowed me to face and overcome obstacles that I am not sure I could have dealt with any other way and because of this my mental well being has definitely improved. I even have my children involved in therapy so that they can begin to deal with some of the ramifications of my alcoholism now, and not be so affected by them later on in life.
All of these actions that I take are so that I can place myself in a position where spiritual growth is most attainable and my recovery is maintained on a day-to-day basis. I make sure that I pray daily, do some sort of physical activity, eat healthy, and keep up with my therapist. Doing these things have greatly improved the quality of my life and recovery and by just implementing some sort of practice for the mind, body, and spirit your life can improve as well.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.