When people make the decision to seek help for an alcohol or substance use disorder, more times than not, they are in pretty bad shape. While addiction is a disease of the mind, it can have a dramatic impact one’s physical health. Generally speaking, those who have a long history of active substance use do not have a great track record when it comes to eating healthy and exercise. As a result, atrophied muscles and being over or underweight are quite common among those seeking the gift of recovery.
Once detoxification withdrawal symptoms subside, treatment professionals underscore the importance of a healthy body with regard to achieving the goal of long-term recovery. They will encourage you to have a balanced healthy diet and engage in practices like yoga and physical exercise. The sooner one begins to feel healthier, the better. What’s more, setting the goal of working out a few times a week can make a huge difference.
Even if you are limited due to physical injuries of your past, ones that may cause you chronic pain, or if a bad knee or hip, for example, causes acute pain when you work out, there are other ways to get be mindful of your physical health. It can be as simple as swimming laps in the pool. Those who exercise are often believed to have an increased likelihood of staying the course in recovery. Feeling bad about one’s image or weight can lead people to crave relief from such feelings, and can precipitate a relapse after treatment.
A Flip Side to Exercise In Recovery
If you have been in recovery for a long time, or are fairly new to the program, you do not need to be told that people living with the disease of addiction are prone to impulsive and obsessive behaviors. And they are notorious for trading one harmful behavior for another. In theory, physical exercise is good for one’s health; but taken to the extreme it can carry with it dangerous consequences.
Many people working a program today, exercise for what could be considered too much. For a person without a history of mental illness, one could view excessive exercise as being relatively benign. However, for those with such a history, overdoing it can be a sign that one is not as focused as they should be on their program. It is also worth noting that exercise causes the release of endorphins in the brain which in turn cause feelings of euphoria, sensations that can be habit-forming. The need to hone one’s body into a fine-tuned machine can easily become another symptom of your addiction.
People who aggressively hit the gym on a weekly basis could actually be fanning the flames, creating a wildfire in the mind that can result in a relapse back to the substance of one’s choice. It is vital that people new to recovery are cognizant of what kinds of behavior are healthy, and those that are not. Learning the true meaning of balance and moderation, words wholly foreign to those in early recovery.
Balance In Addiction Recovery
If you are new to the program, there is a lot to process. And, to be sure, there is not just one right way to work a program, but there are certain steps you can take to learn if you might be overdoing it in certain areas. People in your support group will likely give you feedback regarding your commitment to the working the program. That is not to say that such people will take your personal inventory for you, rather they will share what they have experienced in their own program that may help you decide the right course to take.
Maintaining the strength of one’s program is relatively delicate process. You don’t want to overdo things in certain areas, or not do enough in others. It can be hard for you to see if you may be drifting astray, potentially walking down the road to relapse. In treatment, you will have counselors to help guide you, afterwards you will likely turn to a sponsor or another peer in your support group for insight. One has the power to work a program and engage in certain activities with moderation.
At Infinity Malibu we have helped many begin the journey of recovery, emphasizing the importance of living a healthy balanced life. If you or a loved one is in the throes of addiction, please contact us today. Our experienced staff can give you the tools necessary for leading a fulfilling life in recovery.