Nutrition: The Most Important Element for Addiction Recovery
In health circles these days, a lot of addiction counselors seem to ignore the important role of nutrition in recovery. As a former cocaine addict myself, I find this approach irresponsible – and frankly, unjustifiable!
In the interests of full disclosure, let me start this piece by telling you a little something about myself.
At the ripe and impressionable age of 14, I got into the horrible habit of smoking cigarettes. Being the most popular gateway drug there is, the said nicotine sticks easily led me to weed. With the promise, of course, of experiencing a better high – and sense of elation. But it wasn’t long before I started meddling in cocaine (or coke – as goes the substance’s pop-cultural street name). Fearing the worst, my mother eventually came to know of my exact proclivities. And after several tantrums and sobbing spectacles, she had me enrolled into a public drug rehab facility. A chance documentary that she saw on our home’s Spectrum Internet Plans convinced her of the need.
This was the first step that I took (or was forced to take) on the path towards recovery. A journey in which good nutrition habits also played a central role. As you’ll find out soon enough.
My Rehab Stint – and a Personal Realization
In retrospect, it was good that my frantic mother took the decision that she did.
Today, I try to sympathize with what she must have gone through. Dealing with a ‘raging adolescent’, in the absence of a husband who had overdosed on his own liquor habit, couldn’t have been easy. Not to mention the fact that she was completely alone at that point. Estranged by the few friends and relatives she once had – who had all gone on to criticize her choices at every step. And then mercilessly left her, with their justification of a ‘lost cause’.
If she hadn’t taken to refusing my desperate entreaties at the time, I would probably have dabbled in heroin and ecstasy next. It was only natural, then, for me to advance onward to these illicit substances. As it is for every ‘junkie’ worth his (or her) salt – and who can’t wait to experience a more profound ‘kick’!
When You’re High…
When you’re high, there’s an ‘extremeness of temperament’ that you have to deal with. One minute, you’re as sober as the person sitting next to you. In another, you’re floating around in a world of fantasy; mistaking everything for what it isn’t in the real world. It sure does feel good & light when you’re in that state – but it’s no fun when the effects wear off. What’s more, a soul-gutting kind of depression soon finds you as soon as you’re ‘out’ of the haze.
Before I go any further, you should know that I have developed a somewhat moral take on this issue. As of today.
Yes, circumstances and genetics do play a role in breeding a personality that is more prone to drug addiction. But there is some justifiable blame to be laid at the addict’s feet too.
At least it was in my case – because no one forced me into taking the first puff. It was all me – and only because I wanted to prove a point to someone who I used to consider my ‘friend’.
Such people, as my experience relates, are anything but.
How Good Nutrition Factors In
When you’re hoping to recover from a drug infatuation, good nutrition counts for a lot. Without trying to make it sound exaggerated, it can actually mean the difference between a quick recovery, and a slow one.
A large concern of good nutrition has to do with adequate hydration. Which roughly translates to ‘drinking enough clean water to make your organs scream in protest!’ Eight 250 ml glasses a day is a good target to work up to – in this respect.
Water, believe it or not, greatly accelerates the rate at which a drug (whatever its type) leaves your system. When you drink a lot of it, you expel the drug’s compounds through your urine, feces, sweat and breath.
Which is what you want, right, when you’re hoping to get sober?
The Advantage of an Organic Diet
Secondly, good nutrition has a lot to do with consuming an organic diet. This is the kind that does not come with any artificial chemical additives. From the soil that it grows in (in the case of plant food). And/or from the feed that it itself takes in (in the case of animals).
As a recovering addict, when you ingest such a diet, you don’t overburden yourself with additional chemicals. These include the full range of antibiotics, pesticides and herbicides that creep their way into the usual variety of produce found in supermarket aisles.
Organic diets also come brimming with the full spectrum of natural vitamins and minerals. A good immune system never hurts anyone. And particularly not anyone hoping to get healthy from a drug infestation.
Binging on Antioxidants
A great number of drugs work by introducing an influx of free radicals within the body. These are pretty dangerous compounds, because they minutely damage a person’s cellular structures. Even DNA strands are not immune to their corrosive effects. Recently, I saw a health documentary on a friend’s Cox Internet Deals. Without getting into the specifics, it detailed how hard drugs like the opioids and psilocybin (mushrooms) yield deep tissue oxidative damage. All because they cause the production of these ‘reactive oxygen species’ to blow out of proportion. Scary stuff.