If you’ve recently completed drug rehab and treatment, tending to your sobriety is likely the first thing on your mind. You’re likely working hard on making the choice each day to stay sober. In fact, when you first start out on your path to achieving sobriety, you might want to allow yourself to eat anything. You’re already saying no in a big way to drugs and alcoholic, so why not let yourself indulge in food, giving yourself the freedom at least in one area of your life to say yes and indulge.
Making Healthy Choices
While this may work during the early stages of your recovery, you may soon recognize that your drug treatment aftercare will require making healthy choices in all areas of your life, especially healthy eating. Nutritional eating can in fact aide the healing process. Returning to a diet that is rich in nutrients can help replenish the body, giving it energy, repairing organ tissue, and strengthening the immune system. Recovering addicts can actually use certain foods to facilitate their healing, such as those that increase the production of serotonin, which can help enhance mood. Feeling better physically and mentally no doubt can facilitate one’s overall experience of life, providing a better outlook on the recovery road ahead.
The Cycle of Addiction
Furthermore, part of healing the addiction cycle is also healing the process of an insatiable appetite. Often, this ravenous appetite is at the root of an addiction with an unending feeling that we can’t get enough. And underneath that insatiable appetite is trying to feed a part of the self that feels unloved, unwanted. This appetite is often fed through drugs and alcohol. However, when recovery begins and there’s a clear recognition that you don’t want to drink or use drugs anymore, you may find that that appetite might show up in your eating habits. In extreme examples, it might look like an eating disorder. In less than extreme cases, it might appear as unhealthy eating, such as unconsciously working through an entire bag of chips while watching television. Therefore, drug treatment aftercare may include a close look at what you’re eating, when, and why.
Guy Kettelhack, author of Sober and Free: Making Your Recovery Work For You, writes that compulsive behavior stems from a fierce attachment. Holding onto something with that level of ferociousness, in turn, stems from a fear of losing something, whatever that is. Kettelhack suggests that if there’s any magic key to lessening the grip on a compulsive behavior, it’s releasing the fear of what might happen. Certainly, any cycle of addiction is rooted in fear and anxiety.
Effects of Unhealthy Eating
Furthermore, addiction and unhealthy eating patterns can both result in wreaking havoc on the body. Alcohol alone impedes nutrient breakdown and impairs the ability to assimilate those nutrients. Also, when someone is in the height of their drinking, 50 percent of their calorie intake is derived from the drinking. The damage to the body, not only because of the addiction but also because of poor food choices, including the choice to not eat at all, has led to many rehabilitative treatment centers to include nutritional counseling. And nutritional and healthy eating are often discussed in the drug treatment aftercare of a recovering addict.
Many treatment centers argue that feeling better reduces the risk of relapse. In fact, nutritionists believe that many addicts are so unfamiliar with the feeling of hunger that they can sometimes misinterpret that feeling for a desire to drink, leading to relapse. This is a mistake that can be remedied during recovery with frequent, healthy meals.
Working with a nutritionist can be an essential part of achieving sobriety, which is in fact all about feeling better emotionally, physically, psychologically and spiritually. Healthy eating is making that choice for healthy living.