As someone who has spent the last 20 years trying to help people recover from alcoholism and other drug addictions, I whole heartedly support the 12 step programs of AA and NA. They are the best and most successful support groups out there for those in recovery. If utilized on a regular basis AA and NA can greatly decrease the chances of relapse and vastly improve the quality of life for the addicted person. In this article however I’d like to discuss some other important things that can be done as well.

Anxiety disorders are the number one mental health problem in America and a significant number of chemically dependant people suffer from high anxiety. It can be difficult to manage stress and anxiety while recovering from alcohol and other drug addictions and that feeling of being overwhelmed often leads to relapse. One of the most effective ways to manage anxiety is to learn how to relax. Not just relaxing as in kicking back, but learning how to reach a deep state of relaxation. Some of the methods for achieving this are guided visualization, meditation, and progressive and passive muscle relaxation. As with many aspects of recovery, willingness is the key that unlocks the door. I can teach you how to reach a deep state of calm in 15 minutes and explain that if you do this daily, you will begin to notice the many positive benefits. But if you are not willing to practice the techniques you won’t receive the benefits.

Deep relaxation can lead to reduced anxiety, reduced frequency and intensity of panic attacks, less difficulty falling asleep at night, and a calmer life style when awake. Regularly reaching a deep state of calm can help with overall health problems such as high blood pressure and even reduce the risk of stroke, potentially adding years to your life. For this discussion of recovery from addiction, deep relaxation can be used to manage stress which helps to prevent relapse. Oh and did I mention that it feels really good to be that calm and at peace.

Muscle relaxation involves relaxing the major muscle groups in what I refer to as bringing the body down. Guided visualization and meditation can help ease the mind into harmony with the relaxed body. A good way to look at it is bring the body down and the mind will follow. When used together and on a regular basis, these techniques can form the foundation for a more relaxed and balanced life. In Relax and recover part 2 I’ll discuss why these methods are so effective and how to do them

Author's Bio: 

Tom is a licensed alcohol and drugs of abuse counselor, and professional musician. He has blended these two passions to produce a series of relaxation albums. What sets this series apart from many others is that Tom brings his thirty years of combined experience as a therapist and musician to the project. His guided relaxations and music have been shown to be effective in clinical settings. This is real music and real therapy.