It’s not that you are too tough or too cool to do certain things. It’s just that you have never considered yourself the type of person to try “holistic” or “alternative” healing techniques. Sure, you have heard some good things about them, but let’s be real – they are just not for you.

That was before treatment.

Fast forward to now, having gotten clean and sober by going through treatment for addiction. You had to surrender to get to this point. That means surrendering old ideas and thoughts and opening your mind to new possibilities. Suddenly, you find yourself doing all kinds of things in recovery that you swore you would never do. In fact, you may owe your recovery in part to some of these methods. Here is a list of five things in recovery you swore you would never do:

#1 Affirmations

Before treatment: “Who sits around talking to themselves, just repeating positive things about themselves? That is just weird.”

In recovery: “Affirmations can be so powerful. In treatment, you learned the power of the messages in your head. Negative messages lead to negative actions and consequences. Positive messages empower and increase self-esteem, attitude, and resilience. It really is that simple.”

Affirmations are a simple tool that can be used anytime, anywhere, and in many different formats. You can say them in your head, say them out loud, write them down, use an app on your phone, and more. Positive messages help to reinforce the emotional progress made in treatment.

#2 Mindfulness Meditation

Before treatment: “It is hard enough just to sit still or clear the mind, let alone try to do both at the same time.”

In recovery: “Mindfulness meditation can seem somewhat difficult at first, but the effects are both short and long-term. Mindfulness meditation is a state of both focusing attention and being aware of your body and surroundings in a non-reactive, non-judgmental way. What this means is that you learn to be present, in the moment, and don’t allow past experiences or worries about the future to interfere with the here and now. For someone who has abused substances, that may seem like asking the impossible.

Yet evidence shows that practicing mindfulness meditation not only helps to be in the moment, it also helps to heal the neural pathways in the brain that were changed in addiction. In short, it is like exercise for the brain, and the more you use it, the stronger your mind becomes. Mindfulness meditation can also help to prevent relapse and remain in recovery more successfully. Maybe sitting still and clearing the mind is not so hard after all.

#3 Breathing Exercises

Before treatment: “My breathing is fine, thank you, and I really don’t need to exercise.”

In recovery: “Quitting substances is not easy, and sometimes breathing is all you can manage to do. You have learned that breathing has multiple functions beyond just bringing in oxygen. Focusing on your breathing helps take the focus away from a craving or a trigger or other difficult moment. Oxygen cleanses not only the blood and body but also the mind. You can unleash your body’s own powers by practicing breathing exercises.”

# 4 Yoga

Before treatment: “That is great for some people, but it is one trend I do not need to try, thank you.”

In recovery: “Yoga can be harder than it looks, but so worth it. It is the one thing that truly brings all of the pieces together: mind, body, and spirit. It can be done at any level of difficulty, but incorporates mindfulness, breathing, and physical exercise to create a daily health routine that leaves you grounded, centered, and focused. Plus, it burns some calories and tones muscles, too, which is just a bonus in your healing from addiction.”

#5 Art Therapy

Before treatment: “I have no creative abilities or even interest in art, nor do I want to use it as some kind of therapy.”

In recovery: “During treatment, you learned that there were so many emotions that you had locked away that were difficult to access. Using art as therapy wasn’t about being creative or creating masterpieces, but rather trying something new that allowed you to release emotions and heal, sometimes without even saying a word. Art has that power, to speak the things of the heart, to heal, and to grow without using verbal language. Art can also unlock language and begin dialogues of healing and growth that other things simply cannot. Plus, some people find they actually do have some creativity after all.”

Life can be ironic when you end up doing things you thought you never would. To be fair, addiction makes you do things you never thought you would, too. Recovery opens your mind to new ways of thinking, doing, and therefore healing. Learning and using tools like affirmations, mindfulness meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises can help you achieve sobriety and also prevent relapse. Recovery is all about finding what is right for you. That is why Rancho Milagro Recovery offers so many different types of therapies. We even use equine therapy with our wonderful horses and have a variety of other rescue animals to help in your healing as well. Contact us today at (951) 526-4582 to rewrite your list of things you thought you would never do. We can help show you that healing from addiction is not only possible but attainable when you are willing to try new things.

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