Sep 05

Holistic Recovery Is Everything

Exploring options for creating healthy habits and their affect on emotional healing is the purpose of janedoerecovery.com and every blog post.  Here the term holistic recovery applies to everyone who struggles with emotional difficulties.  This includes conditions that may or may not be related to addiction and circumstances that range anywhere from daily stress to tragic events.  Since we are complicated beings the causes and expressions of self numbing behavior are varied and extremely personal.  It only makes sense that our options for recovery should be too…

 ”I believe there is a balance, and this balance is a key part of the solution.”  ~ Jamie Marich Ph.D. 

If you’ve read much of anything on this site you probably know that I am a huge fan of Twelve Step Programs.  I feel that they can be useful not only in relation to substance abuse but also as a tool for addressing emotional distress even when addiction is not a factor.  Emotions run riot can create a wide variety of destructive habits for coping and self soothing.  These self numbing behaviors are not limited to substance abuse.  Eating disorders, co-dependency, isolation, grief, rage and depression, just to name a few, are often not only a cause of suffering in our lives but a response to emotions and events that have not been processed in a healthy way.  These events can be obvious and dramatic or seemingly very small in the beginning but once we are caught in an unhealthy downward spiral the synergy that exists between the body, mind and spirit can work against us.   By the time we reach a point of unmanageability that leads us to a Twelve Step Program most of us are damaged to some extent in all three areas.  For that reason healing that lasts requires that we respect our needs in every area to become whole again.

Working through past and present grief was a major component of my initial journey through the steps.  Addressing the trauma of growing up in a home with a terminally ill parent and the progression of her resulting mental illness was a central theme in my fourth step even though it was my own co-dependency that brought me to the program years after she had passed.  The painful process of coming to terms with my powerlessness over the addicts in my adult life finally led me to the realization that self numbing behavior had been evolving in me virtually unnoticed since childhood.  I had to learn how to listen to my body, I had to learn how to let go, how to say no and mean it, to say yes and feel it and how to live in a world where things are not always as I think they should be.  It was complicated.  As a matter of fact it still is complicated unless I choose to make it simple.  I take a slow deep breath, I stretch, I write, I go to a meeting… I do what I can do in this moment.  Holistic recovery is a practical approach for finding peace in complicated situations.

My recent reading and social networking has led me to someone who seems to agree with me.  In an incredibly insightful book called Trauma and theTwelve Steps Dr. Jamie Marich takes a thoughtful look at making Twelve Step Programs work for trauma survivors.  Although the book is written primarily to educate those working with addiction/trauma recovery I found that nearly everything she had to say was extremely useful in facilitating step work to address emotional distress.  Her view of holistic recovery is all inclusive, allowing for the complex nature of the individual experience and exploring options that can be tailored to fit into any program.  One of the things I found most refreshing was her recurring reference to honoring each person “where they’re at” or where they are right now and everything that explains how they got here.  Several chapters in the book relate directly to common emotional blocks and triggers while working the steps and ideas for staying “trauma sensitive” through each phase of recovery. Combining methods of treatment such as professional therapy and physical coping skills with a Twelve Step Program is another recurring theme in the book that reinforces the importance of exploring less conventional options for healing that complement traditional treatment.  Trauma and the Twelve Steps is a beautiful resource for building a bridge to connect step work and emotional health.  From this open minded perspective we begin to see new possibilities.  No matter how severe or how insignificant the situation may seem at the moment there is a starting place that is right for you where you are today.

There are many habits and modalities that can assist us on the road to recovery if we are ready to try and if we aren’t ready yet they are there to help us get ready to try.  Look around with an open mind.  Try a breathing meditation, meridian tapping or a simple yoga practice of Sun Salutations.  Do some journaling or find some affirmations for encouragement.  If we are willing to investigate the rich and varied methods that promote wellness we have already made meaningful progress.

I urge you to start somewhere right now.  Start with just one thing and then try everything until you find what feels right for you.  Exploring options for recovery can seem overwhelming and complicated at first but the solution is really quite simple.  Honor yourself, every part of you, respect your needs and stay open to all the possibilities for healing.  Never give up on claiming your birthright to wholeness and you will surely be led to the right program, counselor, website or book to inspire you and remind you that you are not alone.  I know this to be true – always revealed to me in ways that I never would have imagined.  Thank you to Dr. Jamie for finding me right where I am today and reinforcing my belief that holistic recovery really is everything.

  • Jamie

    Thank you so much, Marta, for this beautiful blog posting and review of my work…it really does seem like so much of what we all do in the healing arts can integrate beautifully if we let it! Peace and blessings to you…J. 

  • CinderellaSue

    So true-I see this in myself and so many of those close to me.  I hope and pray for all to find the peace you are finding.

  • http://janedoerecovery.com/ Jane

    Really a great book!  Inspiring lady too!  It is truly amazing to me how complex human emotions and our responses can be.  We really are fearfully and wonderfully made, we just have to remember to honor all those parts of us in healing. Glad you liked it Cinderella Sue :) check out the book!

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