The Power Struggle of Early Addiction Recovery
“Donut or Carrot? Carrot or Donut? Carrot then donuts….Yep, that’s it”
This article is not a science lesson on the chemistry of the brain. Nor is it an article recounting a list of benefits you’ll receive by healthy eating. In fact, if you want that, go to buzzfeed.com.
What this article is, though, is a smack in the back of the head of most addicts in early recovery. This article is a simple stating of the ignored obvious with hopes that you may realize how important your physical health is to your mental health and, more importantly, to your recovery.
The Obvious Statment
Using drugs and alcohol does a number on the body and brain.
Think of those old Drug-Free America advertisements: “This is your brain on drugs.”
Now, that smashed egg depicted in those commercials was just simply from using drugs and alcohol, imagine what your brain chemistry looks like after abusing it for days, months, years, or even decades. To put it lightly, your brain is a jumbled mess of mis-firing neurotransmitters and broken re-uptake systems.
Once you stop abusing drugs and alcohol, however, your brain begins to naturally re-learn it’s basic functioning by forming new neural pathways that lead you back on your merry way.
Here is the kicker:
That takes time, and in that time, you are going to be experiencing the aftermath of that neuronal destruction.
Your emotions will be closely related to the chaos theory (Chaos theory is a part of mathematics. It looks at certain systems that are very sensitive. A very small change may make the system behave completely differently. Very small changes in the starting position of a chaotic system make a big difference after a while. Thanks, Wikipedia.)
You may feel sick and anxious one moment, only to find yourself with a jolly smile on your face in a state of total serenity the next. You may lack focus, mental clarity, energy, and stamina.
Now, I don’t want to discourage you because this all does dissipate eventually, and experiences may vary from person to person.
If you are new in addiction recovery and your brain is stabilizing, stop eating junk food and sitting on your couch.
Your Life Depends on It
It’s no secret that consuming excess sugar, devouring nutrient-deprived meals, and sitting on your ass all day is no good for you.
But what if your life depended on it?
A major cause of most relapses in early recovery is due to the inability to shake the symptoms associated with the dreaded, post acute withdrawal symptoms. The haziness, the heightened anxiety levels, and so on. The only thing good about post acute withdrawals is it’s awkwardly cute acronym, “PAWS.”
The thing is that there is a way to avoid exacerbating PAWS by leading a healthy lifestyle in early addiction recovery, whether you feel like it or not.
An increase in exercise (even just going for a walk outside everyday suffices), avoiding highly processed foods, reducing sugar consumption, and increasing nutrient intake is all that it takes for you to start feeling better, faster.
Not only does all of the aforementioned help you avoid exacerbating PAWS, it actually helps to minimize them!
Get On Your Grind
No one wants to get clean and sober for a month only fall off the wagon the next month. Our goal as recovering addicts and alcoholics is longevity; one day at a time, of course.
If you think of your recovery from addiction as an odds game, why not stack the deck in your favor?
So, I insist you grind.
Begin some type of fitness regimen and get those natural endorphins flowing!
Start watching what you eat and if you struggle with understanding basic nutrition and health, everyone has that one really healthy friend, so ask them for help.
Begin taking supplements that are designed by addiction professionals and packed with the amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your brain and body have been lacking for so long. (May we suggest the LiQcovery: AM and PM formulas?)
Most importantly, begin to understand what your body needs during this fragile time-period. Your recovery is the most important thing in your life right now, and it must be protected at all costs.
Lastly, I ask that you avoid the pitfalls of the short-game. Think long-term. Taking care of your health is an investment into your future, so any temporary discomfort caused by leafy greens or an extra quarter mile on the treadmill will be well worth the struggle later on.