Substance Use Affects Everything
Drugs, alcohol, and substance use disorders wreak havoc on every aspect of your life. Body, mind, and spirit are all affected, and all need to find healing and peace again after being released from the bonds of addiction.
You may likely feel emotionally off-balance or not quite “yourself” after starting recovery treatment because of all the changes your body and mind are going through. No longer having the substance(s) in your body isn’t normal, and will be quite an adjustment.
This is completely typical and to be expected. As cliché as it sounds, this too shall pass. Committing to recovery requires a change in how you take care of your body, emotions, and relationships. All three are important and work together to return you to your peak ability.
Taking Care of Your Body
Nutrition is an incredibly vital part of recovering from substance use disorder. You may not realize it, but drug and alcohol abuse tears your body systems apart. The liver, heart, brain, kidneys, and lungs are all major organs that are most affected by substance abuse. Nutrients are vital to their repair.
The liver and kidneys filter the blood and detoxify the body, so they are the hardest-hit by every substance. The longer you used, and the more potent the doses, the more damage has been done.
Substance use can speed up or slow down the heart, affecting the lungs and breathing rate. When your heart and lungs have been affected substantially by substance use, the chance of a medical issue with the cardio-pulmonary system is very high.
Brain and nervous system damage can have long-term effects as well, sometimes leading to the onset of mental illness such as depression or anxiety.
The Bottom Line
In short, even though you’ve done a wonderful thing for your body in quitting substances, it’s still important to care for your health. Get regular checkups and screenings, and be honest with your healthcare providers about your past to help them know how to treat you.
Following a healthy post-rehab diet, engaging in regular exercise, and staying hydrated will play a huge part in overcoming any illnesses that do arise. The best thing you can do is work with a dietitian who is aware of your recovery journey and can help ensure you are aware of the vitamins and nutrients needed for your continued success.
Taking Care of Your Emotions
Seeing a therapist or counselor after leaving treatment is extremely beneficial to your emotional well-being. A counselor who understands the unique struggles of someone in recovery can help you navigate the path of sobriety.
Following a routine is a great way to create new, healthy emotional habits. Making time for meditation, prayer, journaling, etc. each day is a chance to keep yourself focused on what is most important in your life. Being grateful, enjoying time with friends and family, and having designated days or times devoted to things that bring you happiness and peace can help cancel out the negativity and frustration so they don’t build up and explode.
Taking Care of Your Relationships
Emotional support is vital to a healthy mindset, but especially pertinent to those on the journey to recovery. Having people surrounding you who love you and support your recovery will help in a variety of ways.
The most obvious is their emotional influence. Having positivity in recovery is difficult when alone or when surrounded by negative people. Good support systems help balance out emotions, triggers, thoughts, and situations that can lead you off the path you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
The people around you can also be influences on your habits – good or bad. People who go back to the same circle of influence after leaving rehab have a much higher chance for relapse than those who surround themselves with others on the same wavelength. Supporters who share your goals for a healthy lifestyle, spirituality, or those who are going through a similar recovery are all going to have a more positive sway on your habits.
The staff at St. Gregory Recovery Center in Iowa are focused on healing your mind, body, and spirit after substance abuse disorder. Everyone who walks through our doors is important, and every life has value. We strive to return your body to a healthy balance, your mind to a positive outlook, and your spirit to peace before you leave clean and sober. We will help you find your new normal. Everyone deserves to be healthy and happy!