What Does Putting Your Recovery First Mean?

Addiction Recovery Publishing Nutrition April 25, 2024

What Does Putting Your Recovery First Mean?

The renowned American author Henry David Thoreau said, “If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” This is also emblematic of what it means to put one’s recovery first. When it comes to addiction and mental health treatment, the reality is that one must take care of their recovery before any other aspects of their life.

What Does Healing at the Cellular Level Look Like?

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we believe in healing at the cellular level. This means that we believe in healing the individual at all levels, including the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual components.

Healing at the cellular level has to do with interconnectedness. If one is to heal in any of the four ways previously mentioned, one must heal in all of the four ways previously mentioned. For example, one cannot expect to heal mentally, if they are not also emotionally sound. It is nearly impossible to think clearly if one’s thoughts are clouded with emotional distractions.

Healing at the cellular level also has to do with getting to the root/core causes of one’s issues. If the underlying causes of one’s issues are not brought up to the surface to be dealt with, then that recovery is only a veneer that will eventually crumble. Also, the best way to heal at the cellular level is to ensure that it happens on an individualized basis.

What Does Individualized Addiction/Mental Health Care Look Like?

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we feel that “one-size-fits-all,” “cookie-cutter” recovery rarely works. It does not address all of the specific needs that one requires to heal at the cellular level. Individualized care is also an essential component of putting one’s recovery first.

Overarching broad recovery also rarely takes into account an individual’s background and specific circumstances that are essential in finding the right addiction and mental healthcare means, methods, and modalities. Also, most places that only offer basic recovery plans don’t have the vast and varied array of treatment options that are essential for interconnected mind-body-spirit recovery.

What Does Effective Comprehensive Addiction/Mental Health Care Look Like?

Comprehensive recovery is just as important as individualized recovery, and when used in tandem, it can be a perfect recipe for success. Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, our comprehensive recovery plans pull from all areas of the treatment world. 

Our plans include traditional mental health modalities that come from the realm of psychotherapeutics (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy), the arena of experiential therapy (such as nature immersion therapy and surf therapy), and the world of holistic healing (such as yoga, massage, and mindfulness meditation). This is also what is known as the multi-angled approach to recovery.

The multi-angled approach to recovery is all about creating recovery plans that are flexible and malleable to ensure that, eventually, a solid, effective, and well-rounded plan is established. This is critical because what works for some does not always work for others. Also, sometimes, a combination of modalities is effective for some, but one component is disruptive for others. A multi-angled approach ensures that what is working stays in a recovery plan, and what isn’t is either dropped or replaced. The multi-angled approach is also a way for individuals to put their recovery first.

What Does Putting Your Recovery First Mean?

Many people balk at the idea of putting their recovery first because it feels “selfish.” Well, in this regard, “selfish” should not be viewed as a bad term. The reality is that by putting one’s recovery first, they are ensuring a a more joyous and free life for everyone down the road.

Another way to think about the importance of putting one’s recovery first is to think about where one’s life would be without recovery. Most likely, it would be a lot more selfish than being in recovery. This is because addiction and mental illness can push everything and everyone we love away. Now, this is unintentional selfishness because addiction and mental illness are diseases that, without help, are out of one’s control. However, putting one’s recovery first brings some healthy control back into an individual’s life.

There is a saying in many recovery communities that goes, “Anything you put above your recovery, you’re going to lose.” While this may come off as a bit dark, there is plenty of logic in it. Recovery allows an individual to get their lives back. This includes their work life, home life, academic life, and social life. The reality is that these could easily slip back away if one stops focusing on their recovery and experiences a relapse. Also, relapse is a lot more common than many people may think. 

According to the peer-reviewed journal Current Psychiatry Reports, “It has long been known that addictive disorders are chronic and relapsing in nature. Recent estimates from clinical treatment studies suggest that more than two-thirds of individuals relapse within weeks to months of initiating treatment.” Also, “For 1-year outcomes across alcohol, nicotine, weight, and illicit drug abuse, studies show that more than 85% of individuals relapse and return to drug use within 1 year of treatment.” These relapses can be avoided as long as one keeps their recovery first and that recovery gets to the root/core issues. It is individualized, comprehensive, and takes a multi-angled approach.

Recovery First: Nutrition

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we have a saying: “Food is medicine.” This is because we believe that the foods we eat greatly contribute to the way we live our lives and, ultimately, recovery. Also, this is why we have some of the country’s best nutritionists and dieticians who help our clients get the food they need as they engage in nutritional therapy.

So, what exactly is nutritional therapy? The answer is that it is a lot more than simply eating right. According to the Journal for Nurse Practitioners, “Nutritional Therapy uses food to prevent and reverse diseases that plague most western societies: diabetes, obesity, heart disease, arthritis, and depression. In order for food to be therapeutic, it must be nutrient-dense, measured in part by the nutrients and anti-nutrients, contained in consumed foods. Nutrients are plant and animal sources providing macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat), micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, probiotics), and fiber” and “Anti-Nutrients are food products that have no biological necessity.”

Our nutritional therapy also focuses largely on satisfying the client’s individual needs and preferences. Just as recovery must come first, nutritional wants and needs must come first, too. After all, what good is eating healthy if it also doesn’t improve one’s mood? That is why our meals are prepared by world-class chefs who cater to each client’s needs separately. Many of our foods are also grown locally here on Hawaii’s Big Island. Some of it is even grown right on property and cultivated by clients as they participate in horticulture therapy. 

Understanding Horticulture Therapy

Horticulture has been used for thousands of years as a way for people to relieve stress and relax. However, recently, horticulture has been incorporated into a therapeutic method that can help people in their mental health and addiction recovery. This is also an ideal way for individuals to focus on their own needs while engaging with nature.

While they may be different for each individual, horticulture therapy offers many benefits. According to the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Horticulture has been long used as a therapeutic activity for people with mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and depression. People’s interactions with plants, through goal-orientated horticultural activities in the form of active gardening, as well as the passive appreciation of nature, could be therapeutic to people with mental disorders in many ways. [H]orticulture could have emotional benefits, such as reducing stress, reducing psychiatric symptoms, stabilizing mood, and increasing the sense of tranquility, spirituality, and enjoyment.”

The journal also mentions many other benefits. These include helping with fatigue, connecting with other individuals, and helping with self-esteem, all essential components for putting one’s recovery first. 

Horticulture therapy is also very unique at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab because our luxury 30-acre property allows for expansive opportunities to engage with plants, fruits, and vegetables. We have rows of impressive citrus and fruit trees, plentiful pineapple patches, abundant guava bushes, and bursting vegetable boxes, all waiting to be cultivated and cared for by our clients. Of course, this is not the only way that our clients engage with nature at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab. We also offer experiential therapies.

Recovery First: Experiential Therapy

Experiential therapy is very much as its moniker presents itself. It is a therapy based on one’s experiences rather than sole analysis (though there certainly is some professional analysis that comes along with it). 

Experiential therapy often involves creative activities or “adventure” activities that help individuals express themselves in ways rather than straight verbal communication. For example, art therapy is a great way for someone to express themselves in ways that they may otherwise be unable to. It can also lead to some revelations as sometimes the art created brings up some of those root/core causes previously mentioned. There are also “adventure” experiential therapies like surf therapy and nature immersion therapy, which allow people to learn more about themselves via outdoor activities.

Understanding Nature Immersion Therapy

The 16th-century Swiss scientist Paracelsus wrote, “The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore, the physician must start from nature, with an open mind.” This is an ideal way to think about nature immersion therapy because both the therapist and the individual use engagement with nature as a foundation for getting to the root/core causes of one’s issues and healing at the cellular level.

According to the National Park Service, “5 minutes walking in nature improves mood, self-esteem, and relaxation. Frequent exposure to nature reduces anxiety and depression while promoting a sense of well-being and fulfillment. Physical activity in a green space can reduce stress and lower cortisol levels by 15%.” Also, these are not the only benefits of nature immersion therapy.

The benefits of nature immersion therapy run the spectrum of whole mind-body-spirit healing. According to the 2020 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Besides improvements to physical and psychological well-being, exposure to natural environments has been shown to bring about positive impacts on cognitive functioning. Also, ”While cognitive restoration and physiological well-being are the prominent and renowned benefits of nature exposure, 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 (CN).” This “connectedness to nature” can also be gained via surf therapy.

Understanding Surf Therapy

Surfing is a great tool for recovery because it is an individualized activity that also allows for communication with others who are having the same experiences. It offers a chance to put one’s recovery first while also staying connected with others.

Surf therapy also has a myriad of other benefits. According to the 2022 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “Carefully planned water activities tailored to the needs of the individual can contribute to correct psychosocial and cognitive development. The International Surf Therapy Organization summarizes the benefits of adequately indicated surf therapy as follows: improved physical health and mobility; improved mental health, including reduction of specific symptoms, such as posttraumatic stress and depression; improved well-being (strengthening of trust and confidence, encouragement of independence, resilience and protective coping strategies) and improved social skills.” 

Now, while it is not technically a holistic practice, surfing does offer many of the same benefits as other holistic methods. These include the practice of acupuncture, massage, meditation, and yoga.

Recovery First: Holistic Healing at the Cellular Level

Here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we have an East meets West recovery philosophy. This is why we work so diligently to offer natural healing methods. We are also unique in that we have a licensed naturopathic doctor (ND) directly on the property.

Using holistic practices is also an ideal way to put one’s recovery first because many of the practices require an individual to “go inside” themselves and find a deeper meaning for why they desire and deserve recovery. One exceptionally effective holistic healing method offered here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab is yoga, both inside our luxury facility and outside on the white sandy beaches of Hawaii’s Big Island.

Understanding Yoga for Recovery

Like horticulture, yoga has been practiced as a way to calm the mind for thousands of years. However, it is only recently that yoga has been studied more closely to discover all of the benefits it offers for people trying to recover from issues of addiction and/or mental illness.

The benefits of yoga are hard to quantify because there are so many, and they can manifest differently depending on the practice and the individual. According to the International Journal of Yoga (IJOY), “Therapeutic yoga is defined as the application of yoga postures and practice to the treatment of health conditions. Yoga therapy involves instruction in yogic practices and teachings to prevent reduce or alleviate structural, physiological, emotional, and spiritual pain, suffering, or limitations. 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.”

Yoga and all of the means, methods, and modalities discussed are ideal ways for individuals to put their recovery first. They are also how one can heal at the cellular level.

Putting Your Recovery First With Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Henry David Thoreau also said, “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.” This is the type of success we offer here at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab.

Recovery is a journey, never a destination. It is also a journey that must start with a personal decision, but from there, no one ever has to do it alone. We are here to help.

Many people can forget the importance of focusing on oneself during their recovery. It is also important for people to love themselves enough to ask for and get help, thus regaining their powerful autonomy. The good news is that Exclusive Hawaii Rehab is the perfect place to do this because there are no outside distractions. If you feel like you or a loved one is struggling with issues of addiction, mental illness, or co-occurring disorders, we can help get you onto the positive path of recovery right away. For more information about the importance of putting oneself at the forefront of one’s recovery, please reach out to Exclusive Hawaii Rehab today at (808) 775-0200.