This Article is About
drugs and alcohol
whole grains fruits and vegetables
detoxification process
diet soda
vitamin d3
fruits and vegetables
step meetings
bare essentials
fish oil
Five Tips For Detoxing From Drugs And Alcohol
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Five Tips For Detoxing From Drugs And Alcohol

Many of us are painfully aware of how difficult it can be to get clean and sober and stay that way. Many more of us could use a 30 day detox once or twice a year just to give our livers a rest and let our bodies purify from the toxins that we dump into ourselves on a regular basis. (Include sugar, caffeine, junk food, video games, and television in the list of things your brain and body could maybe use a break from once in awhile.)

For some, a few counseling sessions or a short rehab vacation might be necessary in order to abstain from substances, and twelve step meetings can be a valuable source of support for maintaining abstinence, if that is the goal. If you set a personal goal to detoxify for 30 days (or even 7) and are unable to accomplish that, you might want to seek out additional support.

Following are five tips to power up your recovery and/or facilitate the detoxification process:

1) Nutrition and supplements: It’s true that you are what you eat. Start by eliminating or reducing sugars (including both regular and diet soda) and the white bread over processed foods that turn to sugar when they enter your body: these foods keep craving alive and actually deplete the serotonin in your brain- an important feel good neurotransmitter! Increase your good mood foods: proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and the healthy fat in dairy products, fish, and nuts. A good multivitamin and a B complex are the bare essentials when it comes to adding supplements to your diet that will help reduce cravings and heal your brain. Vitamin D3 and Omega 3-6-9 (fish oil) have been linked to improved moods, as well. Increased fiber will help move things on through you. And of course, drink plenty of water. It is an absolute must for flushing out your system and keeping you well hydrated- always!

2) Change your brain with meditation and self hypnosis techniques: There has been much written in recent years about the pathways created in the brain by repetitive thoughts and actions. Addiction to substances and emotional states can keep us stuck in unhealthy patterns of behavior and rob us of our dreams. Research has shown that it is possible to change the neuro-plasticity of our brains. Practicing meditation and self hypnosis techniques can help us alter negative or limiting thought patterns, cope with our feelings, and make positive changes. If you are not in the habit of meditating, start small. Choose a quiet place to return to daily as close to the same time each day as you can manage. Sit quietly in an upright position and just breathe. Use your breath as an anchor. When your mind wanders (and it will), gently notice the thought and return your attention to your breath. Start with five minutes a day and work your way up from there. It seems very simple, but mindfulness meditation is a powerful way to gain mastery over your thoughts.

3) The healing power of words: Believe it or not, writing is another tool that can help with detoxification. Toxic thoughts lead to bad moods and can trigger substance abuse relapse, besides just making us miserable and keeping us stuck. Adopt the habit of keeping a personal journal to monitor your progress and your thinking. It is a helpful practice to write down what goes into your body while detoxifying. It is equally important to keep track of the thoughts that are taking up space in your mind, particularly the ones originating from that mean old inner critic. When you are in the habit of writing down your negative thoughts, you are able to vent (ventilate), getting those stinky thoughts out of your head and onto the page. You can also write a positive affirmation to refute the limiting thought. For example, if my limiting thought is: “I can’t relax without a glass of wine,” my positive affirmation might be: “I am able to relax with three deep breaths.”

If all of that seems like too much to begin with, start small. A simple way to begin a personal writing practice designed to improve your mood and gain control of toxic thinking is to make a daily list of 5-10 things that you’re grateful for. Gratitude has been shown to make actual changes in the brain, and definite changes in attitude.

4) Exercise: There is no substitute for getting out and exercising. More and more, research is showing that even light exercise can have a profound effect on your mood. Again, if you are not in the habit, start small. Walk around the block or up and down the stairs. Stretch! Get fresh air if it is possible. Think of inhaling a fresh cleansing breath, and exhaling stale stagnant air. Find a partner who will commit to exercising with you regularly. If exercise is a dirty word for you, think of it as play that increases your heart rate.

Yoga is great for detoxifying because it squeezes the toxins out of you, especially Bikram yoga. If there is a Hot Yoga class in your area, try it! Your will sweat out toxins at a rapid rate, get a fantastic workout, and walk away with peace of mind. Walk, run, bike, hike, dance, swim, play a game of tag with your kids, borrow the neighbor’s dog- whatever you have to do to Move It!

5) Sleep: “Sleep hygiene” is a relatively new buzzword, and there has been much written in recent years about our chronically under-rested, overworked population. Most experts agree that adults need at least seven hours of sleep a night (8-9 is optimal) and kids need closer to ten. If you are sleeping with the television on, or too much light in your bedroom, it is considered “poor sleep hygiene” and may be affecting the quality of your sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep and sleeping through the night, look into small habit changes that may have a big impact. For example, drinking caffeine after mid-afternoon and looking at a screen (TV or computer) in the hour before bedtime can have drastic effects on your ability to sleep easily and well.

If you think you are getting along fine on 4-6 hours per night, you may be. But try sleeping 7-8 hours per night for a week and then see how your brain operates when you go with only 5-6. It’s a big difference for many of us! Especially during a detoxification period, when eliminating caffeine is an important part of the process, you may find that you need to increase your sleep time in order to function well.

Detoxifying your body and mind is not an easy thing to do, but the benefits make it well worth the effort. The many rewards including improved health and mood, clarity of thought and skin, and increased energy. Start small if you have never done it before. Thirty days without a beer can look like forever if you have had a daily beer (or six) since you were twenty years old. Start with a seven day detox and see how that goes for you. Think of it as spring cleaning!


Street Talk

Very well written article Vicki.This will help people.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Wonderful

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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