Recovery from an addiction is a lifelong journey; there is no permanent cure for the condition. While a detoxification and extended stay at a treatment facility might be the first big step for a recovering addict, the success of most recoveries rests on daily self-reflection and conscious decision-making by addicts themselves. They cannot simply undergo a treatment program and emerge clean or “fixed.” Instead, they must make tangible process through daily actions if they want to improve socially, mentally, physically, and intellectually. Here are the most important components of a successful recovery plan:

1. Physical Improvements

Addicts often wreck their bodies during periods of active use. Their physiological and psychological problems – as well as their constant efforts to procure drugs – cause them to ignore signs of bodily degradation due to poor sleep, bad nutrition, and a lack of exercise. Some of the things addicts can do to improve their bodies are:

Regular Exercise

Like drugs, exercise can lead to a release of dopamine. Chronic stress is one of the most common causes for relapse, so running, biking or lifting weights can actually help an addict to stave off drug cravings. Exercise also encourages the body to maintain a high white blood cell count – crucial for fighting disease and maintaining a properly functioning immune system that can stave off drug cravings.

During most daily recovery programs, addicts only need a half-hour of moderate intensity exercise. Yoga has been especially helpful to people with drug problems because of its combination of physical activity and meditation. However, exercise programs need to be tailored to addicts’ individual needs. This is especially true in cases where drug abuse has so damaged rehab patients’ bodies that they are unable to perform certain activities or exercises.

Proper Nutrition

When most people think of proper nutrition, they think of monitoring fat and carbohydrate intake or getting plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables in their diets. However, diet becomes a more complicated issue for recovering addicts. Many rehab patients need to reduce their salt intake in order to ease stress on both the mind and the cardiovascular system. Other addicts need to carefully control their sugar intake. Sugar causes spikes and crashes in energy – the mental and physical kind of highs and lows that can exacerbate patterns of addiction.

Consuming large amounts of water is also critical for recovering substance abusers. Water allows the body to process and utilize the nutrients it takes in through food, so it is essential for maximizing the effects of a good diet. Furthermore, water is the body’s primary lubricant. It allows for the rapid flow of cellular information between organs and nerves, and it provides new cells a place to grow. Many addicts destroy their bodies during active use and need all the cellular growth their bodies can support.

Bad nutrition can result in disease, stress, mental imbalances, and exhaustion. Combined with the detrimental effects of a sedentary lifestyle, these factors can drastically increase addicts’ likelihood of relapse.

If you want to learn more about the most critical parts of a successful recovery plan, read Part 2 of this series. It discusses the social aspects of addiction recovery and how friends and family can help or hurt the process.

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Author's Bio: 

A writer for the internet marketing world, Shinzat is a crafter of persuasive copy and web content for electronic media and print. Born in a remote part of Japan, Shinzat speaks a variety of languages and writes will in them all. He commands a linguisitcs degree from a Russian university and sits on the board of several consortiums for various arts.