Category Archives: Wellness

Why Spirituality Is Key To Effective Addiction Recovery

SummitEstate-SoulMind-banner-4-28-16According to a 2014 study conducted at Harvard, spirituality and brain activity are inextricably linked. The study found that mindfulness meditation could do far more than simply redirecting certain thought patterns. It actually changed the brain’s gray matter. Specifically, meditation resulted in “a major increase in gray matter density in the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection.” Because addiction impacts the brain in profound ways, this new knowledge holds enormous implications for the effectiveness of certain spiritual techniques used in addiction recovery.

An Unlikely Antidote

In 2002, international social work professors and researchers, Kris Kissman and Lynn Maurer, published an article in the Journal of International Social Work entitled East meets West: Therapeutic aspects of spirituality in health, mental health and addiction recovery. In it, they share that spirituality – the moral framework for giving meaning to life – can be a sort of “antidote to depression and despair.” They go further to say that “spiritual healing promotes wholeness and well-being, lacking when life circumstances create dejection that can result in self-medication, or the use of psychoactive substances to combat dispirited feelings.”

For anyone who has ever felt the unyielding grip of depression or addiction and is ready to encounter change, hope of such an antidote is worth exploring further.Women In The Field

From scholars to clinicians, experts are taking a closer look at practices that have been commonly used in Eastern cultures, and finding ways to incorporate them into the addiction recovery tactics used in the West. In a 2014 New York Times article, Dr. Lisa Miller, Director of Clinical Psychology and of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Columbia University’s Teachers College, wrote that “a personal relationship with a higher power is the most powerful form of protection against the ‘mystic consciousness’ of substance abuse.” Addiction recovery programs offer a space in which one can explore this personal relationship alongside professionals who are familiar with the multifaceted nature of addiction.

One by one, the most highly respected authorities in the field of medicine are getting on the spiritual bandwagon because of the unquestionable evidence that brain and spirit are connected. In 2008, Pew Research Center published the transcript of a discussion held among a panel of neuroscientists. They spoke about how brain-imaging technology is telling us more and more about how we are affected by matters of the soul – “In observing Buddhist monks as they meditate, Franciscan nuns as they pray and Pentecostals as they speak in tongues, Dr. Andrew Newberg, a radiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, has found that measurable brain activity matches up with the religious experiences described by worshippers.”

Addiction recovery experts are utilizing this knowledge, and it is proving to be quite effective.

Spirituality vs. Religion

Reaching Towards the Sky-Spirituality vs. ReligionThere’s a difference between spirituality and religion, so it’s important to distinguish between the two. Lance Dodes, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, clarifies this difference – “…up to about 70 years ago, the terms spirituality and religion were almost synonymous.  But since then, ‘spirituality’ has also been used to refer to a feeling or belief in the oneness between an individual and the universe, being in touch with one’s soul or inner self, and even simply a sense of personal well-being.  None of these newer meanings has a specific reference to a deity or to religion.” Others who have attempted to define the terms have said religion relies more heavily on a collective agreement to adhere to certain rules, while spirituality is more focused on individual experiences and the unique meaning that s/he derives from those experiences.

Spirituality – A Lasting Road To Transcendence

Across disciplines, spirituality is being utilized as a dynamic tool that guides individuals toward an inner connectedness, awareness of oneself in relation to the universe, and a state of health and well-being.

What we now know is that addiction is often the result of a person’s desire to have a sense of pleasure and well-being. One’s substance of choice offers a temporary and false sense of euphoria, or as Dr. Miller puts it, “a shortcut to transcendence.” A deeper understanding of this human need for transcendence is informing the development of mental and behavioral alternatives to patients. These alternatives hold hope for those who use substances to satisfy their craving for feelings of bliss and relief.

Spiritual Recovery – What To Expect

Meditating-Spiritual Recovery, What To ExpectFor those who choose to venture into the world of spiritual healing, some of the angst may be due to not knowing what to expect. Many of the methods involve what Kissman and Maurer refer to as “present-moment awareness.” By focusing on breathing, listening, and sharing stories, this “present-moment awareness” has the potential to correct distortions that exist in the thoughts of addicts, quieting the mind and opening the door to another way of coping with stress and worries.

Here are some important things to remember:

  • Spirituality and Power – Addiction recovery is often about giving up reliance on personal will power, and surrendering to the power of the collective. This is why group processes are so effective. Spirituality takes this concept to another level by teaching patients how to not only relinquish power to control, but also how to “[join] with a higher power in order to increase personal power,” according to Kissman and Maurer.
  • Spirituality and Transformation – Successful and lasting addiction recovery involves personal transformation. Addicts who once identified themselves as weak or powerless learn how to reframe their identity. This change comes as a result of the metaphors and stories that are characteristic of many spiritual practices. The stories give voice to individual struggles, and provide the spiritual component of “interconnectedness between individuals” by “[breaking] the emotional isolation” that often fuels addiction.
  • Spirituality and Cognition – Our brains are fascinating, and have the incredible ability to focus on the past, the present, the future, or realms of thought that aren’t even real. Kissman and Maurer’s research reveals that “present-moment awareness… facilitates a cognitive focus on positive aspects of everyday life” which “clears the mind for self-nurturing and coping.” In a world where suffering and despair may threaten to take over, self-nurturing is a skill that can improve cognitive function. Spirituality can clarify the “cognitive distortions” that can trigger substance abuse.

Addressing The Skeptics

AA MeetingAlcoholics Anonymous (AA) has now been around for over 80 years. Since the program’s inception in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, scientists and AA enthusiasts have gone back and forth about the credibility and success rate of the program’s spiritually-based 12-step method. To be fair, collecting data and publishing the findings of AA groups in peer-reviewed medical journals has been quite difficult because of the expectation of anonymity that is the very basis of the groups’ operation.

Even with this challenge, scientists have found ways to measure the success of the program. The numbers cannot be denied.  When discussing the skepticism that academicians have directed toward the spiritual components of AA, Thomas McClellan, Ph.D., Director of the Treatment Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, says that because of the data, “professionals with such attitudes owe AA an apology.” Robert Fiorentine, Ph.D., Director of Research Training at the UCLA Drug Abuse Research Center, agrees, saying that “recent evidence [indicates] the effectiveness of the Twelve Steps in assisting in recovery.”

In 1998, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism published a study called Project MATCH, which looked at 21 personal characteristics that could serve as reliable predictors of how well people would do when engaged in specific types of treatment. The findings of the Project MATCH study were fascinating. A total of 806 clients were randomly assigned to one of three different treatments. When total abstinence – fully giving up alcohol – was the desired outcome, the spiritually-based 12-step method held a “statistically significant advantage” over the other 2 treatments – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Enhancement Therapy.

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If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, exploring spiritual treatment options might be worth a try. If your interest is piqued, give us a call today to find out more about how we can support you through your own transformation.

5 Things To Be Thankful For When Recovering From Addiction

5 Things To Be Thankful For When Recovering From AddictionThe emotionally demanding process of recovery is not easy by anyone’s standards. The initial phases of sobriety are particularly difficult, and even physically and emotionally exhausting. Yet, in the early phase of recovery, individuals who are battling drug or alcohol addiction are often surprised that they quickly begin to rediscover hope and a renewed appreciation for life.

In rehab, you will often hear people say that you can start your day over at any time. In recovery, you have the opportunity to start your life over. Whether you’ve lived with addiction for months, years or decades, today is truly the first day of the rest of your life – your sober life! This is why many addicts will tell you that their worst day sober is better than their best day using.

Things To Be Thankful For When Recovering From Addiction

While every individual in recovery will have their own particular reasons to be thankful, the following are some of the most typical that you’ll hear from those who are on their journey of recovery.

1. Better Health

Drugs and alcohol can wreak havoc on your physical health. From causing sleep disturbances and digestion problems to damaging your skin and eventually your internal organs, addiction is a one way ticket to health problems. By eliminating the substance from your system, you’ll begin to heal yourself. In fact, feeling and looking better are some of the earliest benefits of sobriety.

2. Clarity

Drugs and alcohol put your brain in a fog that can make it hard to concentrate, connect with others and experience feelings. Many people who enter recovery are amazed to experience a renewed ability to comprehend ideas and feel the gamut of emotions that are part of a healthy, fully-functioning life.

3. New Friends

While it’s important to stay connected with existing friends who support you in your recovery, you’ll most likely meet new individuals in meetings and support groups. Often, these will be the friends who you celebrate milestones and victories with as you achieve long-term sobriety.

4. Better Family Relationships

Addiction can be devastating on a family. Relationship can be damaged, and trust is lost. With each day of sobriety, you’ll be able to regain trust and participate fully in the lives of those who mean the most to you.

5. Greater Productivity

Work, school, relationships, exercise, hobbies and more will improve when you’re free from addition. It can feel like you have more hours in the day, and, in a sense, you do! Make the most of your reclaimed time, and relish in the pleasure of making the most of your life!

Get On The Road To Gratitude

Starting on the journey of recovery can seem overwhelming. Yet, it begins with taking that first step of asking for help. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, call now to speak with one of our team members. We will treat you with the respect and compassion that you deserve.

The Beginning Of Recovery Starts Today…With One Call

5 Activities For Inner Strength To Support Sobriety

Many people in recovery will talk about how their inner strength is helping to sustain their sobriety. For those who are just beginning their journey of recovery, it can be challenging to determine what is required to strengthen that somewhat mysterious, intangible trait called inner strength.

Laugh As Much As You Breathe-5 Activities For Inner Strength

What Exactly Is Inner Strength?

The reality is that inner strength is a learned trait or skill that is a hybrid of discipline, willpower, concentration, persistence, and self-control. It isn’t something that someone is born with, but it can be developed like other important life skills.

As inner strength is developed, it is enlisted by those in recovery to make choices, avoid temptations, overcome negative habits, battle complacency and follow through with the positive actions that are necessary in recovery.

How Can Inner Strength Be Developed?

Because inner strength is so incredibly necessary for anyone who is battling an addiction, it’s important to have practices or activities of self-expression in recovery that promote the development of inner strength. The following five are particularly beneficial.

5 Activities For Inner Strength

Meditation – This holistic activity is something that can be practiced right from the first days of detox and throughout the rest of one’s life. It helps to promote inner strength by providing clarity and stress relief while boosting energy.

Deep Breathing – Focusing on breathing is something that can be done anytime, anywhere. By breathing deeply and rhythmically, there is an increase in the intake of oxygen which promotes healthy brain function and decreased anxiety.

Exercise – Regularly scheduled physical activity helps to increase discipline, concentration, and willpower. It also provides the added benefits of jumpstarting energy, improving sleep, and reducing stress.

Forgiveness – Pent up anger and resentment can lead some individuals into a relapse of their addiction. These negative feelings are both consuming and draining. By being able to release the grudges you hold against those in your life, you can move beyond the anger and discover a life that is more peaceful and meaningful.

Laughter – Whether you’re having a giggle with a friend about a funny story or enjoying the latest comedy at the theater, laughter is a wonderful way to build inner strength. The act of laughing releases feel-good endorphins which improves blood flow and heightens awareness and energy.

Emotional, Physical And Spiritual Healing

Do you want to learn more about how inner strength can help those dealing with drug or alcohol addiction? Call Summit Estate today! We will work on helping you recover emotionally, physically and spiritually with our holistic, individualized recovery plans.

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The Importance Of Nutrition Counseling And Eating Well In Rehab

While balanced nutrition is important for everyone, it is especially vital for those who are recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. It’s simply a fact that malnutrition is often an unfortunate consequence of addiction. And, the poor eating habits that frequently go hand-in-hand with addiction often lead to a host of additional physical, mental, and emotional problems.

Gourmet Mealtime-Nutrition Counseling In Rehab-Summit Estate

Interestingly, only fat contains more calories per gram than alcohol. Because of this, individuals who are addicted to alcohol will experience a sense of fullness after eating very little. Consuming large quantities of empty calories in alcohol leads to poor eating habits and malnutrition. Those who abuse drugs have a similar experience, as well. Alcohol and drugs actually prevent the body from properly absorbing and breaking down nutrients. Thus, even the addicts who are consuming balanced diets suffer from some amount of malnutrition.

Nutrition Counseling In Rehab

Nutrition counseling in addiction treatment plays an important role in recovery because it helps build the foundation for new habits and a healthier way of life. We believe a healthy diet must be incorporated into an individualized treatment program. This is why we offer nutrition counseling to help our clients understand their individual nutritional needs and learn how to live a healthy lifestyle.

A Healthier Way Of Eating And Living

At Summit Estate, we have chefs on staff to prepare balanced, nutritious meals that are created specifically for our clients’ enjoyment. Our inpatient gourmet cuisine is made with fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats. Breads and desserts are made from scratch daily.

Gourmet Meal-Nutrition Counseling In Rehab-Summit EstateThe right mix of protein and carbohydrate-rich foods can greatly help with cravings during the early stages of recovery and provide energy and a more balanced, positive outlook. With a healthy diet, our clients may begin to experience many of the positive benefits of recovery sooner including restored energy, elevated mood, and fewer cravings.

Balanced meals and snacks can also help strengthen the body, the mind, and the spirit to provide greater ability to resist temptation and to prevent relapse.

The Benefits Of Individualized Meals

As part of an individualized treatment program, meals are adapted to address each client’s specific health needs and food preferences. Our nutritional counselors can work with clients and our in-house chefs to ensure meals are nutritious and enjoyable.

Get Help Now!

If you’re ready to embrace recovery and start a more healthful way of life, we encourage you to call us now. We are here to help.

Call Now To Learn More About Our Nutrition Counseling & Other Individualized Treatment Programs!

*Please note that we receive nutritional counseling services through an external provider – the cost is not included in the cost of your stay with us.

Holistic Treatment – What Is Holistic Healing?

Under the best of circumstances, getting and staying sober is incredibly challenging. While there is the initial challenge of detoxification and overcoming the minute-by-minute urge to drink or use drugs, ongoing recovery is far more complex. Those who have successfully achieved long-term sobriety know that healing must take place in the body as well as the mind and the soul.

The vast majority of addiction treatment professionals agree that successful recovery requires a holistic approach that is focused on total wellness and finding a better way of living. At Summit Estate, we offer a variety of holistic addiction treatment options to complement our inpatient treatment programs.

Yoga Therapy-Holistic Treatment-SummitEstate.com

Understanding Holistic Treatment

Recovery is a tremendous opportunity to improve your well-being on all fronts. Holistic treatments support this by helping you to regain proper balance in your life. Our wellness amenities are designed specifically to support you on the road to recovery and to enable you to treat your whole being and not just your addiction.

Holistic Therapies We Offer For Recovery

For example, our yoga in holistic addiction treatment can help you gain a deeper level of self-awareness and create a sense of calm that may prevent a return to addictive behaviors. Through postures and breathing techniques, digestion, circulation, and breathing can improve. Often, this holistic treatment becomes a personal daily practice that individuals enjoy on an ongoing basis.

We also offer inpatient holistic massage which can be particularly beneficial for reducing stress and addressing the physical and emotional aspects of recovery. Other options include acupuncture, reflexology, and nutritional counseling which you can choose while staying at Summit Estate. Clients also gain access to personal training to strengthen the body and support healthy recovery.

It’s not uncommon for those in recovery to embrace a single holistic treatment and find that it provides them strength to continue on their path to recovery. Others will discover that a combination of treatments offers them the best chance for staying sober. Either way, holistic treatments deliver tremendous benefits to those who take advantage of them.

Although recovery is never easy, it can be made more comfortable when it is integrated with holistic treatments. As well, these wellness tools can become the start of a healthier, more positive way of living that helps support ongoing recovery and a better way of living.

To Reawaken & Discover How Our Holistic Treatment Can Help Your Or A Loved One – Call Us Now!