Creating a Customized Recovery Roadmap for Treating Substance Use Disorder

Addiction Recovery Publishing Nutrition October 26, 2023

Creating a Customized Recovery Roadmap for Treating Substance Use Disorder

There is an ancient saying that can still be heard here on Hawaii’s Big Island that goes, “NĀNĀ I KE KUMU.” What this translates to is that we should always be looking for our sense of place, seeking our spiritual purpose, and searching for our truth. For those of us who are struggling with active substance use disorder (SUD), this trinity of truth is often all but lost.

However, what is lost never has to stay lost, and there are many ways by which we can retrieve our life’s purpose again and move forward toward a new sense of place, a new spiritual practice, and new truths about ourselves that we never knew before. But, before any of that can happen, we must first reach out our hands and ask for help.

Substance Use Disorder: The Importance of Getting the Right Diagnosis Right Away

Reaching for help and recovery is perhaps one of the hardest things a person will ever have to do. There are intense fears and challenges to overcome that many people who don’t struggle with the disease of addiction may never understand. The psychological and physical hurdles are daunting.

However, when an individual finally can reach out for help and, perhaps more importantly, accept the help that is offered, they will soon find out that this is also the best thing they have ever done. But that does not mean that they are in the free and clear just because they have reached out. This is where the work begins.

Many of us who struggle with SUD first have to go through a detox before moving on to treatment. This is perfectly normal and doesn’t hold any judgment over one person’s addiction over another. Some people are just at more severe stages of their addiction when they reach out for help.

Substance Use Disorder: The Importance of a Customized and Safe Detox

Perhaps the most important thing to understand about detoxing from alcohol and/or other substances is that it should never be done without the full help and supervision of professionals. This is critical information, not just because a detox will most likely be significantly more uncomfortable without professional oversight, but it could quite literally be deadly.

Detoxifying the body of substances that it has become reliant on for an extended period of time can be very taxing on the system. This is especially true for people detoxing from alcohol or benzodiazepine addiction. Detoxing without sufficient care could put the system in so much shock that it could cause serious harm. There are also certain withdrawal symptoms that can be life-threatening. Doctors and other addiction specialists should always be present to ensure that the proper needs of the body are met. These needs may include administering medications and fluids, and they may also include emotional support and treatments.

In detox, the body isn’t the only thing that is affected. The emotional and emotional “self” can be devastated for some time during and after detox. This is actually more normal than many people may think. After all, most of us who finally made it to detox have been numbing our emotions and dulling our minds for years. It can be startling when things start to come back online.

So, because of all of these factors, it is critical to choose a detox that is customized to fit all of our individual needs. This is because sometimes there is only one good chance of having a successful detox, so we need to make sure that that chance is taken full advantage of. Also, it is important that detox includes a plan for what happens next. 

If a solid recovery plan isn’t ready to go for right after detox ends, then there is the potential for all of that hard work in detox to be for naught. The key is for a good customized detox to be rewarded with a good customized recovery plan.

Substance Use Disorder: The Importance of Creating the Right Recovery Plan Right Away

There is another saying here on the Big Island of Hawaii that goes, “KA LĀ HIKI OLA.” This is an optimistic saying that essentially translates to “Every day is a new day, so let’s make it the best day.” Now, this is what has to happen when we are approaching a recovery plan for SUD. The best plan must created, and it must be done from the very beginning.

Starting a recovery plan out in the wrong way is like fighting the most important fight of your life with one hand tied behind your back. One, it is unnecessary, and two, it is tiring. The key is to get the right diagnosis right away so the right recovery plan can take off.

Just as it is important to detox with a reputable and knowledgeable facility, it is important to work with trusted and respected professionals for the next steps. Licensed addiction and mental health specialists and medical professionals are going to be able to determine the next right steps moving forward after detox. 

A medical professional is going to be able to help determine if any other co-occurring disorders alongside SUD need to be addressed, and addiction and mental health specialists are going to be able to create an exceptional recovery plan to address those needs.

Also, at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we take the next steps after rehab a little further. We have a licensed naturopathic doctor (ND) on staff who will go over a client’s bloodwork and determine what kind of nutrients and other deficiencies an individual may be struggling with, so replenishing those can become paramount in the early stages of a recovery plan. But that will only be one part of the plan because good recovery plans are customized, individualized, and comprehensive.

Why Individualized and Comprehensive Addiction Care Is Critical

No two people struggling with SUD will ever have the exact same story. Yes, there may be many similarities, but there will always be parts of their active addiction journey that are unique to them. It is due to these differences in addiction stories that there should be differences in how a recovery plan comes together. Now, it only makes sense. The more focused a recovery plan can be, the better and more efficient the recovery can be.

Now, unfortunately, many recovery centers offer broad “catch-all” recovery plans. These are plans that offer the same treatment modalities to anyone with the same diagnosis (SUD, for example). Now, while this may be effective for some, it often leaves many people wanting, and in recovery, that is a very serious letdown.

Substance Use Disorder: The Importance of Multiple Modalities for Recovery

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we understand the importance of comprehensive care, which is why we have so many different options by which we can create an individualized recovery plan. We have traditional mental health therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Also, we have many holistic treatment options that have been shown to be highly beneficial for recovery. These are options like yoga, massage, acupuncture, and mindfulness practices.

Then, we also have some of the most exciting experiential therapies that are being utilized today. This is especially true when it comes to the nature immersion therapy that we can offer here on Hawaii’s Big Island because there may be no better place on the planet than the Hamakua Coast to connect to nature, connect to self, and connect to cellular-level healing.

The Benefits of Nature Immersion Therapy for Treating Substance Use Disorder

Many of us who have struggled with active SUD understand what it means to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. This is rarely a choice that we purposefully make; rather, it is a choice that our addiction made for us out of fear that someone would get in the way of our disease. Nature immersion therapy can help get us out of that mindset while also, quite literally, getting us outside.

The first thing that comes to mind when people think about engaging with the outdoors is the physical benefits that come along with it, and yes, there are many vital physical benefits to nature immersion therapy, but they are not the only ones.

According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Besides physical health improvements, nature exposure can bring about positive influence upon psychological constructs such as boredom, friendliness, well-being, and liveliness. However, across more than one hundred studies on nature/wildlife exposure, stress mitigation has been shown to be one of the most consistent and important psychological benefits.” These psychological benefits can be vital for those of us who are dealing with the emotional hangover that often accompanies getting sober and entering recovery. 

There are also more benefits that nature immersion therapy can offer. According to the same journal, “Besides improvements to physical and psychological well-being, exposure to natural environments has been shown to bring about positive impacts on cognitive functioning.” Also, “there is one important construct that is often overlooked in environmental psychology research studies — that is, the human-nature relationship; also known as connectedness to nature.” It is this connectedness to nature that can truly get us out of ourselves and back out into a world that SUD tried to rob us of.

Also, the nature of Hawaii’s Big Island is something that must be experienced to be believed. The Hamakua Coast offers the opportunity to visit live volcanoes like the Kilauea Volcano, walk under the most amazing waterfalls such as the Akaka and Rainbow Falls, explore seemingly otherworldly places like the Kaumana Caves, and look out over the immense Pacific Ocaen from some of the most beautiful beaches on the planet, such as Spencer, Carlsmith, and Richardson Beach.

But nature immersion doesn’t have to stop on the beach on the Hamakua Coast. There are many ways to utilize experiential therapy in the ocean itself. This includes swimming with some of the most majestic sea creatures around, as well as surfing some of the best waves in the world.

Utilizing Surf Therapy and Other Aquatics Activities for Recovery

Surf therapy can be an exceptional addition to any recovery plan for SUD. Of course, many places are not able to offer it simply because they don’t have access to surf. This is just another one of the reasons why we feel blessed at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab. We have some of the most amazing surf spaces in the world. For example, a mere 15-minute walk from our 30-acre luxury property is a surf break that the locals call Honoli’i. Here, our clients can surf (and boogie board) some of the best waves in Hawaii and heal while doing so.

According to the clinical journal Frontiers in Psychology, “One environmental context that has received less attention is water-based physical activity, with researchers suggesting that swimming and other water-based activities (e.g., kayaking, surfing) may provide superior benefits for the promotion of human well-being due to greater affordances… Further, there is increasing evidence suggesting that participation in action and adventure sports, such as surfing, is meaningful and life-enhancing. Participating in action and adventure sports is said to create opportunities to foster positive psychological outcomes such as resilience, self-esteem, positive affect, and relatedness.” The research and evidence are there. People just need the ”blue space” to participate in it. Fortunately, we here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab can offer it.

The Benefits of Nutrition Therapy for Treating Substance Use Disorder

Another way that we customize our recovery plans here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab is by offering specific nutrition plans for each of our clients. These nutrition plans are especially crucial for those clients who are recovering from SUD.

Many people may not be aware of the nutrient deficiencies that often accompany substance abuse and addiction. These missing nutrients must be replenished as soon as possible in recovery if there is going to be optimal healing at the cellular level. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, this can be done through work with our licensed nutritionists and dieticians who work right on our property.

These specialists ensure that our nutrient needs hit their needed levels while also teaching us how to keep these levels where they need to be through information and healthy food prep. As we like to say, “Food is medicine,” here, and they make sure that the right “medicine” is always available. This includes the option of pharmaceutical-grade supplements and infusion therapies.

The Benefits of Yoga for Treating Substance Use Disorder

Another component of our customized recovery plans comes from the world of holistic treatments. This includes acupuncture, massage, mindfulness, and meditation. It also includes the incredible, some may argue the invaluable, practice of yoga.

Yoga has been helping people heal at the cellular level for centuries. According to a study reported on by the International Journal of Yoga, “Yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.” These benefits make yoga an ideal addition to many of our recovery plans for clients struggling with SUD.

Consistently Creating Customized Recovery Roadmaps at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Earlier, we talked about “NĀNĀ I KE KUMU” and finding one’s peace and sense of place in the world. We believe that those looking to recover and attain this need look no further than Hawaii’s Big Island.

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we don’t believe in “one-note” recovery, which is why we create customized recovery roadmaps for each of our clients. We believe that everyone’s recovery road is unique. So, we believe that everyone should have their own recovery map to navigate it.

Creating a customized roadmap, which is the right plan right from the beginning, is critical for ensuring the best chances for a healthy long-term recovery. Creating a customized plan also helps create the best and most efficient timeline for recovery. Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we have a myriad of unique treatment modalities that we can offer within these recovery plans, such as surf therapy, nature immersion therapy, Ho’oponopono, horticulture therapy, yoga, and infusion therapy. If you feel like you or a loved one may be struggling with issues of substance use disorder, mental health, or both, we can help. For more information on creating individualized comprehensive recovery plans, please reach out to Exclusive Hawaii Rehab today at (808) 775-0200.