The Three Elements of Healing
Healing of Mind, Body and Spirit
Our treatment programs offer a holistic approach infused with spirituality and Torah values. Our core curriculum ensures that all faculties (“three elements”) of the recovering individual are given equal emphasis. By addressing the client’s physiological, emotional and spiritual needs equally, his dependencies on “external stimuli” are eliminated and the individual begins anew on his way to a full and meaningful life. Ultimately, our goal is to create “eternal recovery” where sobriety is everlasting throughout the client’s life. Other areas of focus include the facilitation of a happy re-integration with family, the work-place, community and society in general.
Our inpatient addiction and alcoholism programs ensure that the client is closely monitored and never exposed to the substances as well as the “triggers” that can cause relapses. Meticulously applied, we offer effective long-term treatments that do not involve institutionalization of clients. Through a carefully supervised regimen, we provide the client a psuedo “real world environment” that contributes significantly to his long-term success and prevention of relapses.
In the end, the toxins are eradicated from the client’s body, mind and soul. The key to a foundational recovery is to ensure that all three elements return to their original and healthy state.
Recovery Through Torah
An addict is driving along, all alone in his car, one night on an empty highway. He is depressed beyond words, thinking how miserable he is and how he would do anything to get sober and have a normal life. Suddenly, as he’s zooming down the highway and thinking, he hears the voice of God. “I hear you’re looking for sobriety,” says God. “Yes,” he says, in awe. “Well, you’re in luck today,” says God, “because I happen to have sobriety, and it can be yours for a reasonable price.” “How much?” “How much have you got?” “I’ve got twenty dollars in my pocket.” “You’re in luck,” says God. “The price of sobriety today happens to be exactly twenty dollars.” “But that’s everything I’ve got,” the man protests. “If I give you all of my money, how will I buy gas for the car?” “A car?” says God, “Oh, I see. The price of sobriety is twenty bucks and your car.” “But if I give you my car, how will I get to work tomorrow?” “Work?” says God, “You have a job? The price of sobriety is twenty bucks, your car and your job.” “But if I give you my job, then I won’t get paid. I need to pay the mortgage this week.” “A mortgage? You mean you have a house? I hate to tell you this, but the price of sobriety just went up. It’s twenty bucks, your car, your job and your house.” “But where will my family live?” “Family? You’ve got a wife and kids? The price of sobriety is twenty bucks, your car, your job, your house, and your wife and kids.” At this point the man decides to shut up. “Are you willing to take it?” asks God. The man nods. God takes everything, and He is about to give the man his sobriety. “But one thing,” says God. “Before I give you your sobriety, there’s something else I want you to do for me.” The man nods again. “See this twenty dollars?” says God, “It’s not your twenty dollars. It’s My twenty dollars.
Meditation & Yoga
The spiritual and self-directed aspects of meditation may be appealing to certain individuals, increasing the effectiveness of this approach to addiction treatment. One 2003 study of drug users noted that meditation and other complementary therapies were used more often and considered effective by individuals with higher education, lower self-perceptions of their health, and access to a regular doctor. In addition, the mindfulness that accompanies meditation has shown to be more effective than behavioral strategies that encouraged avoiding thoughts of substance use. Such thoughts inevitably surface in recovery, and meditation may offer a method for awareness and acceptance of these thoughts. This, in turn, may limit the transformation of these thoughts into the action of substance use. Studies on meditation use in the prison population support this idea. Decreased alcohol use was demonstrated in inmates who incorporated Vipassana meditation, a mindfulness form of meditation that focuses on acceptance of unwanted thoughts. How to Meditate to Treat Addiction The literature on using meditation for addiction most often describes the Vipassana type of meditation. In Vipassana meditation, one does not try to deny or ignore thoughts related to addiction. Rather, when a thought or craving to use arises, Vipassana meditation teaches one to observe and accept the presence of the thought while not over-identifying with it. In this way, one can acknowledge the reality of such thoughts while learning to refocus energy and intention elsewhere. This type of meditation is appealing to some because it avoids blame and stigmatization related to the addictive thought process, while also acknowledging its reality. Vipassana meditation for addiction would begin with finding a quiet place without distractions and at least 20-30 minutes of dedicated time. While sitting in a chair or on the floor, one would hold the head and back straight, in a comfortable position with eyes closed. This is a mindful form of meditation, with a focus on being aware of body sensations and thoughts. Therefore, if shifting or moving becomes necessary, it should be done with an awareness of the sensation and action of the movement. Vipassana meditation is the act of watching what
Massage & Chiropractic Therapy
Incorporating massage into a substance abuse program is advantageous in all of the stages of quitting an addiction: withdrawal, detoxification and abstinence. The physical, emotional and spiritual components of recovery all can be directly benefited by the healing power of therapeutic touch. The nurturing contact of massage utilizes skin as the translator of the therapist’s intent. Skin, the largest sensory organ in our body, is our primary sense for connecting information from our external surroundings to our internal environment. The Touch Research Institute in Miami, Florida has performed scientific research documenting the physiological effects of massage on the body. Dr. Kosakoski reminds us of some of their findings on massage such as decreased pain, diminished autoimmune response, enhanced immune response, and increased alertness and performance. These effects appear to be related to massage’s ability to reduce cortisol, a stress hormone, as reported by the Touch Research Institute in 2003. Several of the Touch Research Institute’s studies positively document the ability of massage to decrease anxiety, depression, agitation, and cravings. In order to understand the connection between massage therapy and its benefit in addiction treatment, Kosakoski explains the neurological biochemistry of addiction: “Much attention has been directed to the mesolimbic reward system, the so-called ‘pleasure pathway’ of the brain. The area is activated in part by the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, the chemical messenger responsible for making us feel good when we engage in any pleasurable activity. It is well known that dopamine is significantly involved in addiction and that dopamine levels are lower than average during the withdrawal process and into early recovery until brain chemistry normalizes.” In 1998, the Touch Research Institute published the findings that a regular massage regimen produced long-term results of increasing dopamine levels. The fact that massage naturally increases dopamine levels, and decreases cortisol levels makes it a perfect addition to a standard detoxification program. The neurochemistry of an addict takes time to get back into balance, so massage treatments after the initial detoxification phase is crucial. When a person uses a substance to feel good, his/her body stops manufacturing its own “feel good”
Fitness & Nutrition
Exercise can be a helpful tool when recovering from an addiction. It provides a way to keep busy and be healthy, and it can help you stay on the right path. According to Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, exercise can help relieve stress and reduce depression. Exercise releases endorphins, which can improve your mood and make you feel more confident. Finding positive ways to fill your time after going through treatment for an addiction can help your recovery be successful. Exercise provides you with a way to feel better physically and helps you deal with negative emotions. You will find that taking a few minutes every day to include any type of exercise will aid in your ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The type of exercise that you do depends on: • The level of activity that you are physically able to handle • The kind of exercises that you enjoy and • Choosing the type of exercise that you will be able to stick with Following an exercise routine when recovering from addiction lets you fill the space that was once occupied by bad habits. Time spent out on a bike ride, at the gym or on a hike means you’re not spending that time at peer-pressure-filled bars or parties. It is important in recovery to find healthy alternatives to whatever bad habit you had. Positive social interactions and preventing boredom are keys to successful addiction recovery. Exercise in a group setting, such as group runs, yoga, Zumba, or group hikes can provide a sober social setting, which improves the chance that recovery will be permanent. Once you start to feel better about yourself and start to experience the positive effects of exercise, you will be more likely to continue in your recovery and start to feel like you are able to succeed. The different exercises that you do can have varied effects on your recovery. • Cardio exercise can help you have more energy, burn fat and lose weight. • Strength training exercises can help you develop muscle and increase metabolism.
Acupuncture is a traditional method of health care that has been practiced in China and other parts of Asia for 2,000 years. Acupuncture is based on the correlation of individual locations and superficial “energy” phenomenon of the body with health supportive functions of our body. Many popular alternative healing methods are based on similar principles, such as: acupressure, reflexolgy, reiki, shiatsu, and Qi Gong. Micro-acupuncture uses points on a small part of the body that also shows correlations with balancing and restorative functions. Points on the feet, hands, scalp, and especially the ear are used in this regard. More than 2,000 drug and alcohol treatment programs in the U.S. and 40 other countries have added ear acupuncture to their protocol. This development is based on the 35-year experience of Lincoln Hospital (Bronx, N.Y.), which delivered 100 acupuncture treatments per day as part of its comprehensive substance disorder program. The nationally-recognized Miami Drug Court is an outgrowth of the Lincoln experience. Acupuncture provides a foundation for recovery and psycho-social rehabilitation. It is a supportive component of a substance abuse treatment as well as in enabling job readiness. Several characteristics of acupuncture enhance overall functioning: 1. As a non-verbal intervention, it helps in reaching resistant patients. 2. It reduces anxiety and agitation while facilitating calm and receptive behavior. 3. It helps develop an inner meditative core in even the most troubled and fearful persons. Ear acupuncture is the common technique used. Treatments are generally given in large groups where patients sit together quietly for 45 minutes. This process is called the National Acupuncture Detoxication Association (NADA) protocol. Acupuncture therapy is embraced by traditional Chinese medical practitioners such as Margot Gersh, who works at Promises Rehab in Malibu. “Acupuncture is extremely effective in treating addiction,” she says. “It rebalances the person from day to day, which makes them feel a lot better. It also regulates their temperature so that they aren’t going through the sort of extreme temperature changes that people experience when they’re coming down.” Instead of treating the whole body, as traditional Chinese acupuncture does, auricular acupuncture–the kind that’s typically used in treating addiction–targets
12 Steps & Spirituality
The entire program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and by extension, other 12 step programs, is based on spiritual principles. Addiction in these models may have physical and psychological components, but primarily, help is sought in the spiritual realm. This doesn’t mean that 12 step spirituality is the only offering — the steps are meant to give practical guidance as well. But the “power” stems from a willingness to, “Let Go and Let God.” The broad reach of AA comes partly from not being too precise or constrained about the meaning of God. When members talk about a higher power, they are expressing their own personal idea about just what this means. The key point is a willingness to stop relying on their own failed attempts to overcome addiction and recognize the need for help. For those with strong religious convictions, the idea of yielding to an outside authority to help heal is a natural one. Others find it a stumbling block — they are free to adopt any other concept that works for them. The phrase used is, “a God of my own understanding.” Four of the traditional 12 steps refer to God, either directly or indirectly. This sometimes leads to the misunderstanding that AA is a religious program, rather than a spiritual one. An important difference is the goal from the alcoholic’s point of view. The purpose isn’t one of worship or religious instruction. 12 step spirituality is instead a way to reach people at an emotional level and offer a path toward healing. The only goal is one of repair and progress toward serenity and sobriety. Unless a group has a religious identification, they will usually stay away from any particular scriptural text and rely on the “bible” of AA — the Big Book. This book doesn’t shy away from mentioning God, but does it by telling the stories of other alcoholics who were freed from the disease. Alcoholism and other addictions corrupt their victims. The disease ruins lives and produces a feeling of helplessness in the face of overwhelming forces. That’s the reason alcoholics recruit spiritual means of