Most people think of rituals or routines as a good thing. However, when the rituals become negative and align with addictive behavior, these rituals can spell trouble. People with addiction problems tend to follow specific steps or rituals before during and after the use of the substance. We see it all the time at our drug and alcohol treatment center in Raleigh NC. While these behaviors can make it easier for loved ones to spot when an addicted family member or friend is using, they can also create debilitating habits which must be overcome during the recovery process.
Legacy Freedom understands the damaging cycles of addiction. Breaking free of these debilitating rituals is one of the most difficult parts of overcoming a dependency. Our holistic approach to substance abuse or addiction helps replace these unhealthy routines with new healthier alternatives. The holistic approach to addiction recovery is entirely different. By utilizing traditional talk therapy to get down to the core issues that are triggering the addiction, we can begin to help our clients begin their journey to sobriety. Adding in non-traditional treatments like equestrian therapy, adventure therapy, yoga, and acupuncture allows us to strengthen our clients physically and spiritually. Returning to a healthy lifestyle also requires the addition of our on-staff dietician and life coach to your care plan. Holistic drug rehab in Raleigh means treatment of the whole person, not just the addiction or dependency.
There is a cycle of dependency that is followed by many addicts whether they realize it or not. There is a chemical imbalance in the brain of an addict. Understanding that addiction is a neurological disorder is the key to understanding how a person ritualizes their addiction.
The cycle of addiction works as follows:
1. Internal frustration – The substance wears off, and they start to feel irritated and uncomfortable. These feelings are what leads to ritual-like behaviors. They might feel the "itch" left by their addiction and start looking for their next fix. Many addicts have the same pattern of seeking behaviors. These can include seclusion from the outside world or becoming short tempered and agitated. They are consumed by their desire to find that next fix.
2. Obsessing – In this stage, the addict will constantly be thinking about the substance. They will often think about previous highs and start planning how they will get their next one. During this time they might seek the substance in the same way they always do, visiting the places where it can be found, staying out late, or calling the people they use with trying to score. The obsessive behavior leads to the actual act of using again.
3. Substance abuse – Once the addict has obtained their drug of choice, they will ritually set up their environment to use. They will use until they feel fulfilled and satisfied. Typically, more and more of the substance is required each time to achieve the same high. This is often what leads to overdoses in addicts who have been using for quite some time.
4. Loss of control and guilt – The addict's behavior will often spiral out of control after they have used. They are overwhelmed with feelings of guilt until the urges to use again return.
The ritual behavior can happen once a day, once a week or once a month. In some cases, it may even occur more than once a day. It all depends on the type of addiction and the severity of the substance abuse. Understand that during the time when people perform their ritual behavior, they are fighting the urge to use again. Seeing your friend who is in recovery at the bar each night, even though he is not drinking, shows that he needs help finding a new routine.
Just as rituals contribute to making addiction worse, an individual can use their awareness of rituals to break the addiction cycle. By seeing the signs, you know when to seek help, and you also realize when you are in danger of relapse. This is where Legacy Freedom can help to break the addictive cycle and replace dangerous rituals with healthy ones that can help overcome the fear and anxiety that would usually lead to temptation.
Positive Recovery Rituals
- Compiling a gratitude list – This could be for your friends or family, or it could simply be writing in a journal what you are grateful for. This helps you focus on the positive during recovery.
- Daily prayer and meditation – Embracing a form of spirituality is useful for any recovery process.
- Listening to uplifting music- This might be songs that bring back fond memories or just ones that make you smile.
- Spending time in nature - Digging in the dirt, creating a garden, or hiking can make you feel renewed and restored.
- Giving back - Performing community service or simply doing something nice for someone else can be very rewarding.
- Healthy eating - Nourishing your body in a healthy way can help you feel better and help combat cravings for your substance of choice.
- Attending Group Therapy – It’s good to share and feel like there is somewhere you can go for support. It is also a place where you will be held responsible for your actions, and you are forced to look at your addiction honestly.
- Learning a new skill – Learning a new skill will give you something to focus on, keep your hands busy and your mind stimulated. You might also get to know some new people that are outside of your regular group of friends.
- Meditation – Meditation is a fantastic way to ease the stress associated with recovery. It can also help you learning how to breathe with purpose and deal with anxiety.
- Mindfulness – Practicing this art will teach you to be quiet and focus on the now. Focusing on your recovery and how far you have come will remind you that it's all worth it.
Exploring DAR (drug abandonment rituals) is also an excellent way to add positive routines into your recovery. Created by Vivienne Edwards, a recovery coach in Oregon, these DARs help you combat sensory triggers that make you want to use. For example, she suggests using highly scented candles to drown out memories associated with smells and eating strong peppermints when you taste something that reminds you of your drug using days to rewrite those memories. These routines are focused on your senses and how to use each sense as a tool towards your recovery. Retraining your brain is an important part of breaking your addictive cycles and rituals.
Recovery is a journey. Overcoming the negative rituals of addiction and replacing them with healthy and active behaviors takes time. Through combining traditional therapy and non-traditional therapy, Legacy Freedom gives addicts a path towards a healthier sober lifestyle. Focusing your attention on healing your whole self and not just breaking your addiction allows you to see changes in your thinking, your behavior and your cravings from the beginning.
Affordable Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center in Raleigh NC
It's never too late to start over and start living better. If you're ready to get healthy again, it starts with getting sober first. Getting drugs and alcohol out of your life might be the best decision you could ever make, so call our holistic drug and alcohol treatment center in Raleigh NC. We have proven programs that will help you get sober again.