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Thursday, August 15, 2019

What’s the Best Diet to Follow in Early Recovery?

Healthy eating habits play a vital role in the process of recovering from a long-term drug or alcohol addiction. Staying drug- and alcohol-free after you complete a recovery program is a challenge, but maintaining healthy eating habits can help you accomplish this goal.

Nutrition Advice for Recovering Addicts

While there’s no one specific diet that’s best for you to eat when you’re trying to protect your sobriety, the optimal eating plan involves plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole-grain breads and cereals. Here are five nutrition tips to follow.

1. Establish a healthy eating routine. People who have used drugs and alcohol for a long time neglect good nutrition because they are more focused on getting their next dose than they are about what they are putting on their plates. Newly sober people should try to not only eat healthy foods, but to get in the habit of eating at the same times each day. Following a sensible diet can also help protect your sobriety by helping you avoid mood swings that may trigger addiction cravings.

2. Try to keep sugar consumption to a minimum. Many people trying to establish healthier eating habits still struggle with sugar, which tends to hide in processed foods. Some research suggests sugar affects the brain’s dopamine levels in a similar way as drugs and alcohol, which is why recovering addicts may crave sugar. It’s best to avoid any foods that spike your blood sugar levels in early recovery, since dramatic fluctuations could affect your mood and make you more likely to relapse.

3. Choose foods that are easy to digest. Recovering drug addicts, especially opioid abusers, frequently experience digestive disorders. Nausea and upset stomach are also common withdrawal symptoms. Easily digested foods, like eggs and toast, are a good choice if you are having gastrointestinal problems.

4. Consume caffeine with caution. People in early recovery should cut out caffeine altogether, or limit their consumption to only one cup of coffee per day. Though caffeine is not dangerously addictive like some drugs, it is a stimulant with the potential to create a physical and psychological dependence.

5. Get plenty of vitamins. People who have lived with substance misuse for many years can become malnourished. Eating a healthy, balanced diet with lots of fresh produce, dairy, nuts and heart-healthy fiber can help you get the nutrients you need. Try using an app such as Nutrition Facts, which can tell you at a glance about the nutrition content of your food. Or, experiment with the “eat a rainbow” approach to meal planning, which can help make sure you are getting a wide variety of nutrients every day.

Eating Your Way to Better Health

Your diet plays a tremendous role in your mood, energy levels and overall well-being, which is why it is essential to plan a balanced diet if you are working on your sobriety. Considering food as part of your holistic recovery plan is another strategy for bringing balance to your body, mind and spirit. Contact us at Complete Harmony to learn more about our unique approach to addiction recovery.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Benefits of Adopting a Pet for Addiction Recovery

When you are working on your addiction recovery, it can be enormously beneficial to have something outside yourself to focus on and ease your distress. You will need a lot of support to succeed in your sobriety, and one holistic way to find this support is to open your home and your heart to a pet who needs a loving caregiver.

Advantages of Having a Pet as a Recovering Addict

The connection between humans and their pets has existed for generations, and there are many excellent reasons for this.

1. Pets give pure, unconditional love. Pets will never judge or criticize you, and all they ask from you in return is your care and attention. Knowing there is someone in your life who will accept you, no matter what, can do wonders to help you rebuild your self-esteem. No matter what mistakes you make during the day, they will always be there to welcome you home and make you feel needed. You may have human family members who will love you unconditionally, but the danger is that they will enable your addiction out of a misguided sense of love. Pets can never enable your addiction, but they will love you in spite of it.

2. Pets help you understand yourself better. Animals, especially dogs and horses, are emotionally honest all the time. It’s impossible for them to hide feelings like happiness, sadness and fear. After years of numbing emotions through drug and alcohol abuse, you will have to relearn how to recognize and express your emotions, and pets can be integral to that process.

3. Pets help reduce stress and loneliness. Because stress and loneliness can be such significant relapse triggers, people in recovery need to find healthy ways to avoid these problems. Interacting with your pet can help increase oxytocin levels in the brain, which can relax you and reduce anxiety and depression.

4. Pets help you build relationships with others. Staying committed to addiction recovery often requires you to let go of old, unhealthy relationships and create new ones. Because pets are always there for you, it’s easier to bond with them than it is to bond with people. Having a pet can also get you out of the house to meet other pet parents, and can be an excellent icebreaker as you seek to form new sober friendships.

5. Pets encourage responsibility. Before you adopt a pet, consider if you are ready for the extra financial and emotional commitment you’ll have to make in life. It’s not fair to your pet to neglect its needs. If you do decide you’re ready to take on the responsibility, having a pet can help you rebuild your feelings of self-worth and competence. A pet’s livelihood depends on you and the choices you make to provide a good home. Their reliance on you can help you feel worthy of trust as a pet owner.

Your Fresh Start Awaits

Complete Harmony is a California-based facility that provides alternatives to traditional 12-step addiction rehab programs. Our holistic treatment options include cognitive behavioral therapy, massage, acupuncture, relapse prevention and more. When you are ready to learn more, reach out to our compassionate team for ‘round-the-clock assistance.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Rediscover Your Health With Alternative Therapies

If you’re working on overcoming an addiction, your primary focus is to reclaim your health. Long-term drug and alcohol misuse has left you physically, mentally and spiritually imbalanced, and now you have turned your attention to the quest for wellness. Alternative therapies, including the field of holistic medicine, can be the asset you’ve been looking for.

What Is Holistic Medicine?

Holistic healing is based on the idea that treating the whole person is essential to better health. All living beings are a system of interdependent parts, and if one of those parts is not working properly, it will cause all the other components to suffer.

While traditional Western medicine relies heavily on prescription medications to “cure” illnesses, holistic doctors rely on all forms of available health care to treat their patients. Giving you medication will not be a holistic healer’s first and only recourse. To begin with, they will take into account all the other factors that may be contributing to your imbalance, including sleep habits, stress, diet and exercise. A holistic treatment plan will include lifestyle modifications to realign your overall well-being, rather than addressing only one symptom.

Guiding Principles Behind Alternative Therapies

Holistic medicine draws its effectiveness from the concept that all people are born with self-healing abilities. A physician who specializes in holistic healing takes a person-centered approach. Instead of focusing solely on your ailment, they will address the underlying causes of the condition using a variety of treatment options.

Your practitioner’s goal will be to help you take responsibility for your health and well-being. Depending on their training, they may recommend specific lifestyle changes to help you achieve a better physical, mental and spiritual state of being. These changes may include nutrition, counseling, exercise or modifying your sleeping habits, among others. Some alternative wellness providers also offer therapies such as massage, acupuncture, homeopathy and naturopathy.

How to Find a Holistic Healer

If you are interested in working with a holistic practitioner near you, you can use the search feature on the American Holistic Health Association’s website to connect you with healers in your area. When choosing a doctor, be sure to research their training, experience and background, and make sure the provider is board-certified.

In holistic medicine, you and your health care provider work as a team to heal you physically, mentally and emotionally, so you should be sure to look for a doctor whose treatment philosophy and ideals align with yours. You also want to find someone who makes you feel at ease and respects your goals and beliefs.

Above all else, when researching potential alternative therapies, make sure the treatment options go beyond pills. You want to rediscover whole-person wellness that also takes your unique needs as a recovering addict into account. A doctor whose foremost approach is to send you home with one or more prescriptions is understandably someone you might be wary of working with.

An Alternative Approach to Addiction Recovery

Are you ready to rediscover the joy and confidence in your life? At Complete Harmony, our caring team of specialists is dedicated to helping you conquer your addiction and heal you with our state-of-the-art, non-12-step programs. We will develop an individualized treatment plan that respects your beliefs and boundaries, and you will realize the best in yourself along the way. Call our California addiction treatment center at 866-930-4673, or reach out to our recovery advisors online.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Making Relaxation Part of Your Recovery

Learning to relax and let go of tension is an essential recovery skill for several reasons. Most notably, stress is a key relapse trigger for many people. When you allow stress to take over your life, it may tempt you to throw away all the progress you’ve made in your sobriety.

Due to the way addiction hijacks your brain chemistry to the point where you associate substance use as your only way to alleviate stress, it’s natural to have cravings when you feel overwhelmed. If you don’t take daily steps to recharge and relax, you can jeopardize your physical, mental and emotional health. With that in mind, here are five ways to relax in your recovery.

1. Exercise

Bringing exercise into a conversation about relaxation may seem counterintuitive. After all, vigorous physical activity is the opposite of being calm. However, regular exercise is one of the best ways you can bring relaxation into your life. Exercising helps release feel-good chemicals that regulate your emotions. It also encourages deeper and more restorative sleep, which gives your body and mind the opportunity to bounce back from the challenges of the day.

2. Meditate

Meditation is one of the most valuable practices you can learn in recovery. This ancient technique teaches practitioners to be more present in the moment, lending both a focus and a renewed sense of purpose to your life. Meditation is also a way to explore your emotions without fear of anyone judging you or detracting from your experience. When you make time to practice meditation regularly, you will learn how to recognize negative or self-destructive thoughts as they arise, then let them go when they threaten your well-being.

3. Practice Progressive Relaxation

Many people tend to unconsciously hold tension in major muscle groups such as their lower back, shoulders, neck and jawline. Progressive muscle relaxation can help you not only learn where you store tension in your body, but also to release it. With this technique, you focus on relaxing one body part at a time, only moving on after you have allowed it to release completely. Progressive muscle relaxation can be helpful if you are struggling with insomnia, or if you are having a difficult day and need to make time to de-stress.

4. Breathe Deeply

Your breath is linked to many other components of your body. By slowing your breathing, you are sending your brain a clear message to calm down. Your brain, in turn, can slow your heart rate. Whenever you need to relax, even if you only have a few minutes, slow and regular breathing can help you regain control of your emotions and rein in the tension. You can even try a visualization alongside your breathing, such as telling yourself you are inhaling positivity and exhaling negativity.

5. Go Outside

Spending time in nature is an excellent way to relax. The sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors are not only a feast for the senses, but there’s something about being in the fresh air and sunshine that helps bring a heightened sense of clarity to any day. Whether you’re planning to go on a hike to get your blood pumping, or are merely spending a few minutes reading in a patch of sunlight, you are bringing yourself some serious stress-busting benefits.

Reward Yourself for the Progress You’ve Made

Maintaining your sobriety can be a daily challenge, but you should recognize how to incorporate your recovery goals into your lifestyle. The first step begins with enrolling in a treatment center that recognizes your needs and helps you regain your health with a holistic approach.

At Complete Harmony, we put success within your reach with our range of innovative treatment modalities that allow you to reestablish healthy patterns and become a well-rounded individual. Contact our admissions team to learn more about what we offer.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Finding Joy in Recovery

Addiction is a cruel disorder that eventually strips people of everything they hold dear – their relationships, their livelihoods and even their home and safety. A crucial component of the recovery journey involves learning how to have fun and enjoy life without the burdens of drug or alcohol use weighing you down.

While you might expect to be miserable in an addiction recovery program, that’s far from the truth. On the contrary, rehab is where you can rediscover who you truly are without hiding behind alcohol and drugs. You’ll have the newfound freedom to experience the everyday joys you thought were lost to you forever. Here are our top three tips for finding the joy in your recovery.

1. Surround Yourself With Positive People

Especially early in recovery, you’ll need to avoid places and people that put your recovery at risk. Obviously, that means situations that remind you of when you were actively using, as well as your old drug or drinking buddies, but even some of the sober people you know can jeopardize the progress you’ve made if they belittle you or fail to respect your boundaries.

Instead of spending time around these negative people, find supportive friends and family members who understand your need to prioritize your recovery above all else – people who serve as a shoulder to cry on when you’re struggling, or who are willing to celebrate your successes with you, no matter how small.

2. Manage Your Stress

One of the earliest lessons you will learn on your recovery journey is that avoiding stress is essential if you hope to prevent relapse. When you start to feel overwhelmed, remember there are practical strategies you can use to manage stress in a healthy way.
  • Be patient: There are no shortcuts in recovery.
  • Learn to say no: It’s OK to set time aside for yourself when you need it. If you feel overtaxed, ask yourself what you can take off your plate.
  • Find new outlets: Take up a new hobby, or learn to practice mindfulness meditation, journaling or yoga.

3. Find New Ways to Have Fun

Addiction eventually rewires your brain to the point where you can’t feel good or normal without drinking or using drugs. One of the most fundamental things you’ll need to learn in recovery is how to enjoy your sober lifestyle and find new ways to fill your hours. Boredom is another common relapse trigger for people, so you may have to force yourself to get out and about while your brain chemistry returns to its normal balance. Find activities you’ve never tried before to help stimulate your curiosity and expand your horizons. Take a class at your local community center, or give back to others with volunteer work. There’s no shortage of ways to have fun while remaining sober.

Rediscovering Everyday Happiness

In recovery, you can begin the work of regaining what addiction robbed you of. As you do so, you will begin to feel intensely grateful for everything you still have – including your life and your opportunity to rebuild a sober future. Every year, too many people lost to active addiction never get that second chance, but you don’t have to become part of those statistics. Your recovery is waiting for you at Complete Harmony. Our holistic addiction treatment programs give you the tools to start again. Contact us today to learn more about our California recovery center and start the admissions process.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

How to Overcome Social Anxiety Without Relying on Alcohol

If you struggle with social anxiety disorder – a condition that affects up to 15 million American adults – you may have become accustomed to drinking alcohol as a “lubricant” that gets you through parties, family reunions, meeting new people and other situations that require you to interact with others. Now, in recovery, you’re learning to live your life without using alcohol as a crutch. Keeping that in mind, we’ve put together some tips to help you deal with situations that might cause you to feel nervous or inadequate.

What Is Social Anxiety?

The hallmark of social anxiety disorder is a fear of others judging you or viewing you in a negative light, accompanied by feelings of intense distress in unavoidable social situations. Common symptoms include:
  • Sweating, shaking, dizziness, nausea or full-fledged panic attacks in social situations
  • Fear of embarrassing yourself or people mocking you in public
  • Experiencing emotional upheaval when you are the focus of people’s attention
Though people with social anxiety commonly experience shyness or low self-confidence, it’s crucial to note the difference between merely being shy and having social anxiety disorder. For people with social anxiety, almost any interaction with others can be nearly crippling. Even something as simple as ordering food in a restaurant or asking for a grocery store clerk’s help can cause a social anxiety sufferer’s heart rate to spike and their palms to sweat. People living with social anxiety might fret over things like going to parties, weddings or job interviews weeks before they occur.

Tips for Managing Social Anxiety Without Drinking

Now that you’re newly sober, you’ll need to learn to manage anxiety and other emotions you previously masked by drinking. Here are our top tips for keeping anxiety at bay without turning to alcohol.

1. Meditate and Reflect
At the first signs of anxiety or panic, take a moment for yourself. Find a quiet place where you can sit calmly and spend a few minutes practicing deep breathing and regulating your thoughts. Remind yourself that you are not alone, and that many other people experience social anxiety as well. If your attention wanders, bring yourself back to your breath.

2. Keep a Journal
Journaling is a beneficial habit for anyone who wants to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of themselves. Keep a daily log of your accomplishments and setbacks, and note times when you felt most like returning to your old, self-destructive habits. As you look back on the notes you’ve written yourself, you may notice a pattern emerging that you can learn how to leverage to your advantage.

3. Rely on Your Support Network
When you’re struggling to stay afloat, reach out to close friends or family members who understand what you're going through. Letting others know when you’re worried about social gatherings, parties or even merely leaving the house can help you gain a new perspective. If the prospect of going to a party has you on edge, bring a friend with you. Having a friendly, familiar face to focus on will calm you down and make you less susceptible to drinking.

You Deserve to Be Your Best

If you’re seeking help for your drinking or drug problem, let the Complete Harmony team help you reconnect with yourself and rediscover your full potential. We offer an innovative treatment model that represents a holistic alternative to traditional 12-step rehabilitation programs. Call 866-930-4673 to speak to one of our team members about our complete continuum of care.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

The Healing Benefits of Aromatherapy

As you work on rebuilding your physical, mental and spiritual health through your recovery journey, there are many alternative therapies you can try, including aromatherapy, which relies upon the therapeutic use of essential oils from plant extracts. You can use aromatherapy on its own, or in conjunction with other holistic treatments like yoga and massage, as part of your well-rounded self-care routine. Here’s everything you need to know to get started with your practice.

How Does Aromatherapy Work?

The use of aromatherapy dates back centuries, and today, aromatherapy is one of the fastest-growing areas of complementary medicine in the United States.

Practitioners of natural medicines believe aromatherapy works by stimulating the smell receptors in your nose, which then send messages into the limbic system — the part of your brain that regulates emotions.

You can inhale the highly concentrated oils directly or indirectly through an essential oil diffuser, or apply them to your skin through massage, lotions or bath gel. A word to the wise, however: You can’t use all essential oils topically in their undiluted form. Most need to be added to carrier oils such as olive, grapeseed or sweet almond. If you aren’t sure how to mix your own essential oils, many companies offer essential oils that are pre-blended with a carrier.

How to Choose and Use Essential Oils for Better Well-Being

Unsurprisingly, essential oils derived from different plants have a wide range of benefits. Some, like peppermint, help create a more alert, uplifted mood, while others, like lavender, are deeply soothing and can relieve anxiety and insomnia. Try different oils on different days to see what works best for you.
  • Bergamot: Bergamot can be a way to treat stress, depression, anxiety and skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. It can help stimulate your internal organs and provide an overall mood boost on days when you’re feeling low.
  • Cedarwood: Cedarwood oil has calming properties that many users say help alleviate stress and anxiety. It’s an excellent way to improve mood, and plays a role in aiding respiratory problems, skin problems and urinary tract infections.
  • Chamomile: Chamomile is a potent calming agent, as well as an antibiotic, antiseptic, antidepressant and all-around mood improver. It has analgesic properties and can also help fight inflammation.
  • Lavender: In addition to providing some users with rapid relief from anxiety and stress, lavender users say it serves as an antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic and sedative.
  • Peppermint: Peppermint oil has a wide range of therapeutic properties in alternative medicine. It is a cooling agent that may enhances mood, sharpens focus, combats irritation and redness, alleviates symptoms of congestion and aids in digestion.
  • Tea tree: Proponents of this versatile essential oil say it has abundant healing properties. Not only is it a natural immune booster, but it may also help the body fight off infection. It works to heal skin conditions, burns and cuts and is an insecticide. In addition, it can help soothe and treat cold sores, respiratory conditions, muscle aches, the flu and dandruff.

Holistic Addiction Treatment on a Continuum of Care

At Complete Harmony, we take a whole-person approach to healing the disease of addiction. When you need California drug and alcohol recovery for yourself or a loved one, explore our innovative, non-12-step treatment options, then contact our rehab team.
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