Why are Healthy Eating Habits Important in Recovery?

Many men and women in active addiction allow their health to fall by the wayside. We find our lives being driven by drugs and alcohol, and end up caring very little about our own physical health. Proper nutrition and healthy eating habits are rarely considered before sobriety, but we find these to be crucial when attempting to recover from the damage done by addiction.
Many substances, like alcohol and stimulants, reduce appetite and keep us from getting the necessary amount of nourishment. Other, like opiates, take such control of our daily lives that we are unconcerned with the quality of the foods we are consuming. Developing a healthy eating routine is crucial in early recovery to break these habits. In a Huffington Post article, “A Holistic Approach to Health in Early Recovery: Diet and Nutrition”, Dr. Maura Henninger explains: “Detoxification, 12-step meetings, group and individual therapy, carefully prescribed medications, and family involvement are all integral to the success of a recovering addict in putting down his drink or drug of choice. But I’ve also found that the proper diet, along with targeted vitamin supplementation, can work miracles in the lives of early recovering addicts and alcoholics.” Many of us enter into treatment extremely deficient in vital nutrients. These deficiencies can exacerbate our depression and anxiety during the first few crucial weeks of sobriety. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, “A person with substance use is more likely to relapse when they have poor eating habits. This is why regular meals are important. Drug and alcohol addiction causes a person to forget what it is like to be hungry and instead think of this feeling as a drug craving. The person should be encouraged to think that they may be hungry when cravings become strong.” We find it helpful to periodically question our emotions using the acronym HALT. We as ourselves if our negative emotions stem from being hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. Our substance use often did not allow us to feel hunger, or it was ignored. In early recovery, however, recognizing when we are hungry and nourishing our bodies helps alleviate symptoms of drug or alcohol cravings, anxiety, and depression. Healthy eating habits in early sobriety help speed along our physical and mental recovery, allowing us to heal and giving us a stronger chance of attaining long-term sobriety.

A new appreciation for physical health can become a part of your story, taking you one step closer to a new life. Oceanfront Recovery, a men’s treatment center in beautiful Laguna Beach, utilizes nutritionist therapy among many other cutting-edge treatment methodologies and techniques. For more information about individualized treatment programs, please call today: (877) 279-1777