Wellness in Addiction Recovery: Why it’s so Important
Wellness in addiction recovery can be a controversial subject. What wellness means to one person means a completely different thing to another.
So what do we mean by wellness, and why at Recoverlution have we created a Wellness hub?
Read on to discover the 8 dimensions of wellness and how they can be achieved.
What does wellness actually mean?
Wellness is a state of thriving and not just surviving, something that is incredibly important in addiction recovery. If we are hanging on by a thread and not living our best lives, what is the point?
If we look at most addiction rehabilitation programmes, they take a holistic approach to treatment. This means that they heal the mind, body and spirit of a person.
The term ‘holistic’ in medicine means healing the whole being of a person - mentally, physically, emotionally, socially and physically. This is necessary as if part of our well-being is neglected in addiction treatment, there is a higher chance of relapse.
To fully understand the significance of wellness in addiction recovery and its importance, we need to understand exactly what it is in us that needs to thrive and how we go about achieving that.
The Cambridge dictionary defines wellness as : the state of being healthy, especially when it is something that you actively try to achieve
Wellness in addiction recovery, isn't automatically gifted to us. It is something we have to work at and continue to work at in order to maintain it.
The 8 dimensions of wellness
Wellness can be broken down into 8 dimensions:
The overall health of our body, achieved by caring for it now and in the future
Understanding and having respect for our feelings, values, and attitudes. Being able to appreciate the feelings of others. Feeling a full range of emotions and being able to manage them in a healthy and constructive way. Having a positive attitude and awareness towards emotions
The health of our personal relationships with others and our ability to have a social life and connect with other people. To be able to enjoy socialising and develop meaningful and intimate relationships with others. Being able to care for others and allowing others to care for us. Contributing socially to a community and implementing healthy boundaries.
Spiritual wellness in addiction recovery:
Spiritual wellness can mean different things depending on the person. Essentially it refers to the health of our soul or our conscience. It may mean having faith and a connection with ourselves. For some people, it means having faith and connection with a higher power, a universal power, or a God. Essentially spiritual wellness manifests in our actions; in our actions towards ourselves and in our actions towards others. Spiritual wellness advocates finding purpose, value, and meaning in life.
Environmental wellness entails having an understanding of how our environment can impact our mental health and well-being. Making our social and natural environment as healthy as possible within our means. Being aware of how our daily habits affect our environment. Giving consideration to the bigger picture and what we can contribute to the health of the planet and to our immediate habitat.
Being able to live within our financial means. Managing finances to account for short-term & long-term requirements. Being accountable financially and being able to cope financially in an emergency. Having an awareness that everyone's financial circumstances, values and needs are unique to them and having respect for that.
Intellectual wellness in addiction recovery:
Growing intellectually and maintaining curiosity about all there is to learn. Finding value in life-long learning. Intellectual wellness is also about responding in a constructive way to intellectual challenges. This doesn't mean having all the answers but having the thirst to find the answers and in continuing to grow intellectually. Part of Intellectual wellness is sharing knowledge and skills with others.
Preparing for and participating in a vocation that is meaningful and rewarding. One that matches our personal values, skillset and goals
Achieving wellness in addiction recovery
Now we have looked at the 8 dimensions of wellness and what they entail, let's get down to the specifics of caring for our wellness in recovery from addiction.
Remembering that we do not have to be perfect in order to be ‘well’, we can use the following methods to improve our overall well-being.
Physical wellness in addiction recovery
There are many ways in which physical wellness can be achieved. Physical wellness in addiction recovery will initially be achieved medically, by removing the drugs and alcohol from our system. This is the first step.
Nutrition comes next, we need to feed our bodies and brains with the nourishment that it needs to recover and sustain a healthy weight. We can then look at enhancing our body's performance, often, this is achieved through various forms of exercise combined with nutrition. Exercise doesn't need to be hard in order to be effective. Everyone's bodies are different, with different needs and abilities. The goal is to improve overall physical health.
Just as important, is seeking help from healthcare professionals as and when needed. Regular check ups with doctors, dentists and opticians are all part of looking after the wellness of the body and how it functions.
Mental and Emotional wellness in addiction recovery
Emotional balance and well-being can take time to achieve following active addiction. However, this is something we need to start working on as soon as we have put down the alcohol and drugs. Initially, many of us may have needed professional help in the form of therapy, medication or a combination of both.
There are many things we can do to achieve emotional sobriety and improve our mental health. Addiction inherently represses emotions, so experiencing our full range of emotions is naturally scary and uncomfortable at first. However, it does become easier with time and practice.
Mindfulness and breathwork are amazing tools when it comes to regulating emotions and improving mental health. There are also many methods of meditation that effectively calm an overactive mind.
Reducing stress is also paramount to our mental wellness and in maintaining addiction recovery. Many people in recovery find that following a recovery programme helps them to healthily manage their emotions and improve their mental state.
Spiritual wellness in addiction recovery
Spirituality gives us a purpose and direction in life. It gives us a deeper understanding and acceptance of ourselves and others. There is no one brand of spirituality that fits all. We are all different with different values and beliefs.
Practising spirituality can be very rewarding, we are kind to ourselves and towards others. We find meaning in life, something that was sorely lacking during active addiction.
Spirituality has amazing healing powers and some recovery programmes are based on spiritual principles. The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, offer a path and process to a spiritual awakening.
Recovery is a journey - Join us at Recoverlution
Just as addiction recovery is a journey so is wellness and it does require action on our part. However, we all need help from others at times when it comes to improving our well-being. This is why we have a hub dedicated to improving wellness in addiction recovery. Led by professionals, our Wellness hub offers classes on breath work, nutrition, exercise, meditation, yoga, mindset coaching and so much more.
Recoverlution focuses on a holistic approach to well-being, which means we offer a platform dedicated to healing the mind, body and soul, with social wellness factored into our community platform.
Our Knowledge hub also contains articles on improving vocational and financial wellness as well as giving insight into addiction and the many ways in which to live a happier and healthier life.
- Dimensions of wellness: Change your habits, change your life: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5508938/
- The Role of Social Supports, Spirituality, Religiousness, Life Meaning and Affiliation with 12-Step Fellowships in Quality of Life Satisfaction Among Individuals in Recovery from Alcohol and Drug Problems: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1526775/
- RECOVERY: THE MANY PATHS TO WELLNESS: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK424846/
- Covid 19 mental health and wellbeing recovery action plan: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/973936/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-recovery-action-plan.pdf