Self-care is often lost on the addicted. Perhaps we never learned. Maybe we forgot along the way. But those days are over. This is how we do it:
Of primary importance in the successful treatment of chemical dependency is the concept of self-care. Self-care is an often neglected priority that will be rejuvenated and practiced every day. This begins with morning ablutions: the activities of toileting, oral care and grooming. The program provides both time and expectations of participants to be kempt and presentable for daily activities - in consideration of their fellow participants as well as themselves. Pictured above is one of two bathrooms in the main house.
The day also begins with making your bed. If this seems mundane or disconcerting, consider the words of Admiral William H. McCraven, United Stages Navy, at his 2014 University of Texas at Austin commencement speech where he explains, “if you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride and encourage you to do another task, and another, and another.And by the end of the day that task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reenforce the fact that in life the little things matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you’ll come home to a made bed - that you made - and that will encourage you to remember that tomorrow is another day.” We worship these words of the dear Admiral and paraphrase his conclusion, “If you want to change your world. Start by making your bed.”
Daily physical fitness takes the concept of self-care from momentary to existential. The difference here is critical. Anyone can patronize any concept momentarily. It is something completely different for an engagement to be existential - that is, part of who you are and how you exist. The more foreign this seems to the reader, the more likely the reader will benefit from this essential feature of self-care. Daily physical fitness brings important benefits to the participant which are essential to the resolution of chemical dependency. These include improvements in sleep, digestion, and sense of well being along with (or maybe because of) reduced anxiety and cravings.
One serious risk of physical fitness, however, is injury - particularly in the addict who is classically a character of extremes. Whatever we do, we do it a lot- often too much —way too much and especially if we like it. Any form of physical fitness activity has this risk not necessarily because it is inherently risky but because we can make it so by doing it too much. So what’s a girl to do ?
Yoga. Yes. Yoga.
Yoga provides a great way to deal with stress and anxiety, which can be a major factor in chemical dependency. The focus on breath and the calming effects of the poses can help to reduce stress and anxiety. This, in turn, can help those in recovery from chemical dependency to better manage their cravings and triggers.
Yoga also helps to improve self-esteem and self-awareness, which are key components in recovery from chemical dependency. By focusing on the breath and learning to be mindful of the body and its sensations, individuals can gain a greater understanding of their own body and mind. This can help them to make better decisions and to be more aware of their own feelings and emotions.
Yoga can help to reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, which are common among those with chemical dependency. By participating in a group class or even attending an individual session, individuals can gain a sense of connection and community. This can be especially beneficial for those in recovery, who may feel isolated and alone.
With some practice, yoga can change how you feel physically from moment to moment throughout the day, not just when you are carrying out the yoga itself. The poses of yoga quickly bring about a strength of symmetry. you are literally balanced and therefore strong and less prone to injury. Your body hurts less so everything else is just a little bit easier.
Overall, yoga is an excellent form of exercise for those in recovery from chemical dependency. Add some good music, good food, and a few laughs to a short workday of counselling and you’ll be well on your way to long term sobriety.
The curriculum, heavy on group and individual counseling will be the bulkiest, most difficult and stormy part of self-care. Introspect is tough work. What’s worse, it is all that remains but the emptiness in the first few moments we are absent of our drug of choice. Regarding the boxes to check off for perfect self-care, this category would be more palatable were it to fall within the moderate temperament just described. But no such luck. It’s 2 hours before lunch and 2 more after, every day. Then there’s a weekly individual hour and most nights there’s one more (optional) group as well. You will, admittedly, be overdoing it on the learning side. Here we can hopefully take advantage of your characteristic extremism.
Beyond the classroom, however, there is much that can be learned via the library or various projects throughout the campus. This kind of learning, of new and exciting things, harnesses the commitment to learning while somehow balancing the tougher work of the day. Curiously, you can go to work, endure stress, come home, work in the garden and it all goes away. So that’s the way we’ll do it. See more under “life-skills” Link along the top of the page.
Growing, selecting and cooking your own food are fabulaous creative outlets whose benefits mirror many of the other elements of self-care. Added benefits are the avoidance of harmful foods or harmful processing elements like micro plastics or preservatives. Food cultivation has the universal benefit of imbuing a sense of connectedness, which all of we addicts are short on. Can’t really say why with the same certainly that I feel about how prepaing your own food brings about a satisfaction like no other.
The mild California clime has the doors wide open for much of the year, although the summers can get to a hundred at noon for a few weeks but the nights are dreamy. And we get an occasional dusting of snow at Christmas but the nights are cozy with the fireplace and the days are still refreshing. As such we are effectively outdoors most of the time. However , on alternating days activities will be either indoors or outdoors for the afternoons. If you are outside you will be working the vertical hydroponic garden, the rose garden, or elsewhere on the campus. Lots of dirt. Lots of fresh air.
In one sense, yoga is meditative. Meditation is when your mind is trained on any one thing for a length of time at the expense of all other thoughts. It takes practice and does not come right away. In fact, letting it come rather than chasing it, that is the goal of meditation. Unlike many elements of self-care, the benefits and learning that comes with meditation is not quite as exchangeable with the rest of them. It does make you relax but not by introducing anything new. You’ll just have to try it. It changes everything. You’ll have a brief guided daily morning meditation and then yoga right after that and we will teach you and encourage you to also do a brief period of daily meditation on your own just before bed.
After you finish with all the self-care items and meditation, yoga, food stuff, ablutions, counseling and all the rest, you still have to have a little fun. But when ? In your spare time ? And what fun can one have stuck in the same place for 34 days ? Plenty. Let me tell you.
Firstly, the mere lack of craziness and the newfound stability that accompanies the completion of detox can be such as relief as to be a sort of fun. As well, just walking out to a sunrise without the typical dont get sick agenda can also make life pretty fun all by itself. But we like to include a disposition of fun throughout the day rather than reserving it for a specific time. We have music playing during life-skills theraoy weather it‘s inside or out and we like to keep it light.
From a medical perspective, one of the most important things in all of life is good sleep. Curiously it turns out to be illusive for most of us because many of us do things prevent against good sleep, beginning with coffee, made worse with cigarettes. Truly, there is no sane conversation about sleep that constrains a nano gram of caffeine. Can’t sleep ? Dump the coffee. All of it. Got anxiety ? Dump the coffee. Get some sleep. But there is also the blue tint of device screens that are in our faces all day long. Sadly, conventional wisdom guides us against separating from all addictions at once despite the intuitive sense that this would be best. So, if you can’t sleep despite the vitamins, the exercise the self care and the lack of drugs or alcohol, consider giving up the coffee and cigarettes. We can help with that as well.
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