Yoga as a form of exercise also promotes the release of internalized emotions, decreases anxiety and stress, and can reduce the impulsive behaviors that often are associated with addiction. Individuals have found that yoga has helped them connect to the spiritual world, a common theme found in many 12-Step meetings. Yoga is a holistic exercise that contributes to positive mental and physical health, increases social support through participation in classes, and creates a new spiritual reawakening.

Following Residential Day Treatment (RDT) or Intensive Outpatient Treatment, it is important to participate in an ongoing Aftercare Program. Aftercare is an important part of a complete life-care program that covers all aspects of living a healthy, fruitful sober life.  A good Aftercare program prepares those who have completed alcohol or drug addiction treatment to enter the period of early recovery.  It helps maintain and build on the gains made during their treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.  The Aftercare program starts immediately following addiction treatment and is critical to help prevent relapse and to achieve optimal outcomes.

In addition to a comprehensive Aftercare program, New Hope Recovery Center recommends incorporating certain life-care activities into early recovery.

Life-care Recommendations:

  1. Participate in an Aftercare program
  2. Attend regular 12-Step meetings
  3. Have regular contact with a sponsor
  4. Depending on your needs, incorporate these other therapies:
  • individual therapy
  • psychiatry
  • family therapy
  • couple therapy
  • pastoral counseling
  • group counseling
  1. Develop and practice healthy habits

Healthy Habits.  Practicing healthy habits not only eliminates bad habits, it establishes and maintains the self-discipline that is important in recovery.  Healthy habits will increase your energy and productivity.  Here are some healthy habits to incorporate into your life:

  • Eat healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains and      foods high in fiber
  • Cut back on sugar and sweets
  • Eliminate soda
  • Stay away from energy drinks
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Cut back or eliminate nicotine and caffeine
  • Engage in regular physical activities such as yoga, weight training, walking, bike riding and running (consult your doctor before starting such activities)
  • Make sleep and rest a priority by getting the proper amount of sleep, not too little nor too much
  • Practice Mindfulness, Gratitude and Meditation

Gratitude.  Keeping an optimistic view of life with the practice of gratitude will allow one to be more content.  Maintaining self-discipline and delaying instant gratification not only decreases the impulsive nature of addictive behaviors, it aids in feeling gratitude.  Practicing gratitude is a key component for overall emotional health and helps us focus on all the positive wonderful things in our lives, versus seeing only what is lacking, disappointing or unpleasant.  Our brains are naturally programmed to look toward the negative, so consciously choose gratitude to override this natural tendency.                              

12-Step Benefits.  Developing and applying a 12-Step recovery program creates a sense of belonging, which many addicts have lost through isolation, alienation, resentments, and inability to connect.  Following a 12-Step program not only provides a sense of belonging, it creates harmony and balanced in life.

Meditation.  Meditation can benefit anyone in any stage of their recovery, but it is especially helpful in early recovery to help deal with post acute withdrawal symptoms. Meditation’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits include a greater sense of awareness, peace of mind, and a deepened connectedness to a higher power, nature and others. It can also create a greater sense of purpose and provide more creative ways to resolve or come to terms with past issues, which tend to be buried.

New Hope Recovery Center Aftercare and Life-care.  New Hope Recovery Center’s Aftercare program includes weekly meetings with other recovering addictions, on-going involvement with New Hope Recovery Center counselors for at least 6 months following IOP or Residential Treatment.

After completing our Aftercare program, clients are invited to take part in a weekly panel group where the alumni member lends support to those who are currently involved in treatment. This gives the alumni member the opportunity to engage in service work with a vivid reminder where they were in their own earlier recovery. For those in treatment who may have difficulty reaching out to others, this allows them to identify and relate to their peers, ask probing questions about early recovery and its challenges.

In addition to these supports, NHRC provides on-going phone and email support for clients who have successfully completed any level of treatment. This adds to the connectedness and accountability, which is so vital to the early recovery process and provides a healthy sense of belonging, fellowship and a new sober support network.

If you or a loved one is interested in participating in an Aftercare program following treatment, please contact New Hope Recovery Center at 773-883-3916 or via email at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center

In recent years, empirical research in the area of exercise with alcohol and drug addiction treatment has expanded. Recent research studies have indicated that physical activity contributes to a healthy lifestyle by promoting overall health and wellness as well as physiological health.  Exercise is beneficial to individuals in drug and alcohol addiction treatment for many reasons. Exercise is cost-effective, flexible, and easily accessible. Exercise can also take many forms, such as playing sports, swimming, walking, running, yoga, and following along to fitness videos. In many cases, it has fewer side effects than psychotropic medication.

Further research in the area of exercise as a supplement to drug and alcohol addiction treatment has found that exercise can provide pleasurable feelings, increase self-efficacy, reduce depressive symptoms and negative moods, decrease stress, improve coping, decrease urges, and provide a positive alternative to using drugs or alcohol.

A 2008 study called "Aerobic Exercise for Alcohol Recovery" was performed on individuals who were alcohol dependent. The study found that a 12-week exercise intervention greatly increased the number of days that the individuals remained abstinent. The exercise intervention included mild aerobic workouts that aided in the recovery process while also boosting cardio-respiratory health.

New Hope Recovery Center understands that exercise is beneficial during the addiction treatment process, so our clients get to experience yoga on a weekly basis as part of our treatment program. Yoga is a particularly important form of exercise to engage in during recovery because recent studies have indicated that yoga increases GABA levels in the brain by nearly 25%. GABA is a receptor in the brain that becomes altered during a drug addiction, so it is important that it be restored back to normal levels. GABA also regulates many central nervous system and muscular functions, including neuron excitability and muscle tone. So in addition to increasing GABA receptors, yoga helps restore central nervous system functions. Yoga as a form of exercise also promotes the release of internalized emotions, decreases anxiety and stress, and can reduce the impulsive behaviors that often are associated with addiction. Individuals have found that yoga has helped them connect to the spiritual world, a common theme found in many 12-Step meetings. Yoga is a holistic exercise that contributes to positive mental and physical health, increases social support through participation in classes, and creates a new spiritual reawakening.

Evidence clearly exists that engaging in exercise in addition to substance abuse treatment can promote overall health and enhance the recovery process. Learn more about yoga in recovery from this article. To learn more about New Hope Recovery Center’s addiction treatment programs, contact us at (773) 883-3916 or email us at info@new-hope-recovery.com.

Study: Brown, Richard, Ana Abrantes, Mary Ella Dubreuil, Alan Gordon, Jennifer Read, Bess Marcus, John Jakicic, David Strong, Julie Oakley, Susan Ramsey, Christopher Kahler, and Gregory Stuart. "Aerobic Exercise for Alcohol Recovery." Behavior Modification 33.2 (2009): 220-249. Loyola Libraries. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.

Written by: New Hope Recovery Center