1. Yoga Therapy For Addiction

    June 23, 2013

    Yoga Therapy for Addiction

    There are many different techniques and methods that can be used to help individuals during recovery from drug addiction or alcoholism. One new type of therapy that makes use of ancient practices is yoga therapy. Participants who use yoga during recovery find that it provides a sense of calm, improves their spiritual connection, and offers them the opportunity to get in shape physically. These benefits are all things that can improve the individual’s life and also greatly assist in recovery.

    Yoga Provides Relaxation and Balance between Mind and Body

    Yoga helps patients manage their emotions more effectively by promoting relaxation and self-peace. Yoga has been known to decrease depression and anxiety, reduce outbursts of anger and fatigue, and lessen confusion. A core value of yoga is self-control, which is practiced by training the mind to direct the body. Patients who struggle with addiction are able to decrease their compulsive behaviors by practicing yoga. Yoga helps the mind and body to work in synergy, by fostering self-discipline and concentration during movements.

    The overall sense of calm that yoga participants experience helps patients who are in recovery accept the challenge of sobriety, and to patiently work toward a new life. “Yoga and meditation do several things, and perhaps one of the most important is that they allow individuals to cope with stress better,” an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, Sat Bir Khalsa, said. “At the core of a lot of addiction is a search for that kind of relief from the stressful world.”

    This type of addiction therapy has been proven to help individuals overcome addiction. Excersize acts as a stress reliever and a mood enhancer, both of which can aid in recovery. Individuals who participate in exercise such as yoga are generally stronger mentally and physically, and even after one session they become more capable of tackling the challenge of sobriety.

    Developing an Inner Strength

    Yoga also assists in recovery by enabling a patient to connect spiritually with themselves and their god. Yoga encourages participants to focus inwardly and address their underlying issues. The practice of personal assessment and growth allows patients to identify the reasons they fell into addiction. Yoga helps individuals feel empowered to overcome the challenges that lead them to addiction. Like the 12 step method, yoga helps individuals develop an inward strength that comes from being personally and spiritually connected to a higher power.

    One group of residents in yoga therapy in Boston were featured in a NY Times article. They told the newspaper that they are encouraged every day through their program. One instructor tells them every day, “Tap into your breath to deal with the unknown. Whatever hurts, whatever bad energy you have in your life, you can let it go here.”

    Patients respond well to yoga therapy, and the effect is a strong motivation to continue in sobriety. “The teacher always says how you’re a good person and to love yourself. That makes you feel good about yourself, and you want to stay clean,” said one patient.

    Image Credit: Angela Kukhahn (flickr.com/photos/kukhahnyoga/6052362466)

  2. Denial in Addicts

    June 10, 2013

    denial in addicts

    by Shellee-Kim Gold

    Denial is a state of mind which blocks crucial parts of ourselves from being made aware and analyzed by our conscious processes.

    Although denial is a problem that affects the human condition the world over, denial in addicts is particularly troublesome.

    Denial defined: A defense mechanism

    Denial acts as a defence mechanism, designed to protect us emotionally.  It is the subconscious mind’s way of erecting a barrier to protect us so we don’t feel the pain of things as they are. As a result, we choose not to be honest with ourselves; and, consequently, with others, including those we love the most.

    Yet, we put ourselves through this because we believe we can perform better and keep functioning as normal in our daily lives.

    Don’t get it wrong; denial is not your friend. In fact, denial is your most lethal enemy. It is the number one way in which you can prevent your successful recovery from addiction, regardless of whether you’re already in recovery or have yet to get there.

    Types of denial and the tell-tale signs

    According to the American Psychiatric Association, the first step on the road to recovery is recognition, but the process is but is complicated by denial.

    There are several types and stages of denial that will come up during an addict’s journey to recovery. Making excuses to justify behaviour (to both yourself and others) and self-deception are the hallmarks of addiction denial.

    If you haven’t yet acknowledged you need help, you have likely used some of the following common patterns of denial:

    • You convince yourself you’re cured when you’ve done nothing or little to resolve your problems.
    • You tell yourself your problems aren’t your fault, and blame other people, such as your boss or partner. Thus, you are able to justify your problems and comes up with reasons why you don’t have to deal with them.
    • You constantly compare yourself to others whom you perceive as having worse problems than you. In that way you can convince yourself that you don’t have a ‘serious’ problem.
    • You mentally manipulate others, and feel triumphant when you’ve convinced them of your lies about your addiction; even though a part of you is screaming for help.

    Just because you’ve dealt with the preliminary forms of denial and may be in a treatment programme or are even post-treatment, don’t fall into the trap of becoming smug! Denial can insidiously sneak back into your life when you aren’t paying attention. Be extra vigilant and watch out for the following symptoms of denial and relapse:

    • Arrogance. Holding to the belief ‘it will never happen to me – again’ is an issue. Anyone can slip back into addiction at any time.
    • Even though the person you’re having a relationship with may not be an addict, negative aspects of this union result in you veering off-track from your recovery.
    • Allowing yourself to be sucked back into socializing with old using or boozing buddies. Choose your friends carefully.

    Helpful Tools

    Will power alone will not help in keeping you sober. Here are some tools you can use to stay clean:

    • Practice of daily self-awareness, which will have a positive influence on all other areas of your life.
    • Observe others.  If there are more than a couple of people in your life who share the same thoughts regarding you and your destructive patterns of behaviour, chances are they’re right. Use their perspective to see yourself through different eyes.
    • Keep connected to other recovering alcoholics and drug addicts; they provide essential support.

    Recognising and acknowledging denial is crucial to successfully managing and overcoming addiction. Denial’s opposite is acceptance. Before you can accept yourself, however, you need to understand who you are. Make that a priority and you may find that staying clean becomes that much simpler.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jessica_digiacomo/5311147795

  3. The Science of Getting Drunk

    April 2, 2013

    The Science of Getting Drunk