Last Updated on March 22, 2018 by Dr. Alberto Solà

Addiction recovery certainly isn’t an easy road.   Now that you have broken free of your active addiction to drugs or alcohol, you will undoubtedly still face obstacles and challenges every day that will threaten your ability to remain on the right path.  Every recovering addict encounters these things; you are not alone. Of course, and thankfully, you will continue to meet with a counselor and also attend support groups for now and in future times of struggle, and these will be extremely valuable to you.  Beyond that, though, there are a wide variety of holistic practices available to you that you can use to independently support your new clean, healthy, and sober lifestyle even further.   According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, more than a third of adults in the USA use some form of holistic practice today, and the trend seems to be expanding.   Don’t let it pass you by!

What Are Holistic Practices?

Holistic practices include things like massage, acupuncture, energy work, yoga, meditation, nutrition, art therapy, and more.  The intention of these practices is to treat the whole person, rather than just a single symptom, ailment, or behavior.  As a result, holistic practices can be very effective for recovering addicts who are taking steps towards a new life.  While addiction affects every aspect of the lives of people afflicted, holistic practices can help to conversely heal the whole individual as well.  Since addiction recovery efforts aim to address the underlying issues that lead to the destructive behavior, treating a person holistically, and giving him or her more a more positive focus and direction can be extremely helpful in getting a good solid foothold on the climb to a new, healthy, and positive life.

How Can I Get Started?  Which Practices Are Right for Me?

Some holistic practices require some degree of special training or self-education on your part, and some will necessitate visits to a licensed practitioner.  Others can be experienced at home independently. Still others may be things you are doing already – and you may not have even realized they could be considered a holistic practice.  Not all of the following practices will be right for or will work for everyone, but consider trying a wide variety of the things listed below to see what is right for you.  You may gain a number of new interests, and may discover that you greatly enjoy things you never previously considered.   Read through this list and see what interests you; you can get started right away on some of the following things, and you can add new practices as you go along.  This is not even a complete list; you may discover even more holistic practices in time with more research, but here are quite a few to get you started.

Meditation – There are countless types of meditation. Meditation has been practiced for many thousands of years and helps to slow down the mind, promote focus, encourage relaxation, and inspire mental clarity.  There are many books and websites that can teach you meditation techniques, and there are even a number of mobile apps on the market to help you develop this practice.   Further, almost every city and town today has meditation groups you can join if you would rather participate with others.   Meditation has been used in schools, hospitals, jails, workplaces, and virtually every other setting to help individuals turn their focus inward, and research shows that the benefits are numerous, true, and effective for many.

Yoga – Yoga is for everyone! Although the stereotype of a yoga practitioner is often someone who is young, thin, and flexible, you don’t need to be any of those things to participate and build a practice of your own.  In time, it does increase one’s flexibility, certainly but there is so much more to it than that.   People who practice yoga report improved concentration, patience, and an overall feeling of calm. Yoga is great for recovering addicts because it helps them train their mind to deal with cravings and agitation, and it can help one overcome insomnia as well.   As with meditation, there are yoga classes offered in nearly every community today, but if you’re not quite ready for that, it’s also possible to easily practice at home independently, as there are a wide variety of classes offered on video and online as well.

Acupuncture – Acupuncture was developed in China over 2,500 years ago and is currently practiced as a part of Chinese medicine in Asia, Europe, and the United States. It involves the insertion of fine needles into specific points on the surface of the body to stimulate healing, and many people who formerly suffered chronic conditions swear by it.  Although acupuncture is not something you can do independently, you can likely find a practitioner locally with a little research.  For addiction, most practitioners will insert the needles into specific points on your outer ear, and after numerous sessions, you will begin to feel results such as reduced cravings and an overall feeling of relaxation that stays with you even after leaving the acupuncturists office.

Art Therapy – Creative therapies can be very helpful in the addiction recovery process. Through art and dance, individuals are given the opportunity to get in touch with the inner self, and can use artistic expression to express feelings that cannot be easily identified or articulated.  Art can help raise self-esteem of the artist, and also can help one learn new ways to relax that do not include drugs or alcohol.  Your counselor or support group leader may be able to point you in the right direction regarding specific art therapy programs for recovering addicts, but if not, most communities offer art programs for residents that are open to all, and which will help you get started.

Music Therapy – Music speaks directly to our emotions. If you play or learn to play an instrument, it can be an outlet for self-expression, but also even listening to music can greatly change your mood, and can help you develop peaceful and calm feelings, and can assist in leveling out your mood in the early stages of recovery.   Further, it can help combat boredom and can reduce feelings of loneliness.  Listening to music is certainly accessible to all – although we all have listened to music in our lives, to fully harness the benefits of this holistic practice, consider listening to genres and artists you have not experienced in the past.  Attend live music events and feel fully enveloped by sound.  Or, if you would like to take lessons to play music yourself, you can find a teacher anywhere with little effort.  Although playing an instrument can be challenging at first, you will be rewarded for your perseverance, and practicing will help to keep you busy and focused on something other than your addiction, as well.

Journaling – Writing in a journal on a consistent basis can be extremely valuable in so many ways for people in recovery. This holistic practice is free and easy and can be done anywhere at any time. Participating in a regular writing habit helps to keep participants accountable and can aid in understanding oneself clearly.  Through writing, you can identify patterns, work through conflicts, set goals, and observe yourself almost as an outside observer might.  Writing can help you explore the issues you may be dealing with in a private and personal way, and it is through this practice that you may learn more about yourself than you knew before.   To get started, just start writing!  Since no one else will read it, it doesn’t really matter how you will begin – just begin, and quickly, you will likely find that what you have to say to yourself is virtually endless.

Animal/Pet Therapy – Being around animals is good for us! Research has shown that when patients in a variety of settings are around pets, their blood pressure and stress levels drop, their endorphin levels rise, and they have reduced feelings of anger, hostility, tension, and anxiety. If you don’t have a pet of your own at home, use a friend’s pet, or better yet, volunteer at an animal shelter or rescue! The animals there are craving love and attention and will certainly give it back to you tenfold.  People who spend a lot of time with animals often report feelings of empowerment, trust, patience, and self-esteem, and as a result, pet therapy is gaining in popularity as a holistic practice offered to not only people working on their recovery, but also to the elderly and to people suffering from a wide variety of chronic illnesses, and the results are

Gardening – Even something as simple as gardening can be a holistic practice. As all gardeners know, getting outside and spending time digging in the dirt, and later watching the growth and literal fruits of your labor come to maturity can be highly therapeutic!  Gardening helps to lower stress, boosts self-confidence, and encourages patience.  Even just having some potted plants in your home to care for can be enough to experience this holistic practice, but consider taking it outdoors as well. If you don’t have room on your own property for an outdoor garden, look into community gardens; you may be able to obtain a plot of your own, or you may feel inspired to assist with a public space that donates its harvest to a local food bank or other charitable cause.

This list includes just a few of the most common examples of holistic practices that people in recovery find beneficial, but they are a good start and are a great place to drive right in.   Incorporating habits and activities such as these into your life can be a great help to you on your recovery journey.   Other ideas for holistic practices that you may find useful include things such as aromatherapy, homeopathy, herbal therapy, hypnosis, coloring, biofeedback, massage, qi gong, reading, healthy eating, and more.  If you are seeking more practices to pursue, simply search “holistic practices” online to find more ideas, and ways to get started.

The path to recovery is long and challenging, but with determination, support, and new direction, it is highly possible and likely to succeed for the long term.  At Clear Sky Recovery, we want to help you take the first step.  We offer ibogaine detox at our facility in Cancun, and we are confident it can help to interrupt your addictive behaviors and change your outlook about your future.  Our intake specialists are standing by to answer any questions you may have, and to help show you the ways in which ibogaine can help you in your unique and personal situation.  Please call us today!