Wellness and Recovery

Traveling the Path of Wellness in Recovery

By John Newport, Ph.D.

 

My first encounter with 12-Step programs occurred in the early 1980’s, when I was teaching a substance abuse course at a local university in Southern California.  As my students were rather street-wise, I’m sure that for the first several semesters I learned more from them than they did from me.

Linking up with the local AA Central Office, I lined up an inspirational speaker named Jay, who came out to talk to my class about his experiences as an alcoholic in recovery, and about AA and other 12-Step programs.  While I wasn’t struggling with alcoholism or drug abuse per se, my life was unmanageable in a number of important areas.  As such, I began to appreciate the wisdom of AA’s generic concept of a higher power, together with other tools of the program – particularly the Serenity Prayer.  As my personality has a rather harsh self-critical side, I have been plagued by spells of clinical depression and anxiety at various junctures in my adult life.  Searching for relief from these struggles, I began to embrace the Serenity Prayer.  In my opinion, that little prayer is the most powerful stress management tool ever invented – it has literally saved my life on more than one occasion.

While alcoholism and drug abuse have not been major issues in my own life, I have more than my share of unhealthy addictive tendencies.  To name a few – I am a “flaming co-dependent” and an intensely obsessive-compulsive perfectionist and workaholic.  As a child I became addicted to sugar to the extent that my teeth and gums were totally “bombed out”.  And during the 12-year period between my two marriages, I became obsessively addicted to unhealthy sexual relationships, as a reflection of my abysmally low self-esteem.

One of the gifts the program has given me is the generic concept of a higher power.  Over the years this has enabled me to move much closer to God, through enabling me to reconcile my Christian upbringing with my belief in reincarnation and basic Buddhist precepts, together with my strong identification with the Great Spirit – embraced by traditional Native Americans as a universal life force with God-like qualities that permeates every object in the universe.

Recently I experienced a serious bout of clinical depression, as the ramifications of major life changes which my wife and I had undertaken in recent years began to “hit the fan”.  I am profoundly grateful that I was able to attract into my life the help I needed, through a process of intensive prayer, meditation and positive affirmation.  Along with this, I drew strength and inspiration in guiding me toward the light through the support of close friends and mentors, including several friends in the program.

In terms of the impact of the 12 Steps on my own recovery process, I have particularly benefited from the application of Step 3, making a conscious decision to turn my life over to God as I understand him, and Step 7 – humbly asking him to help me rise above my shortcomings.  For decades I carried with me a heavy burden of guilt, relating to my misperceptions of the circumstances surrounding my first marriage.  I have found the ongoing process of making amends (Step 9) to be tremendously helpful in letting go of this guilt, and working to transform my past mistakes into learning experiences.  I also derive tremendous benefit from the regular practice of Step 10 – conducting an ongoing personal inventory, and attempting to promptly admit it whenever I am wrong.  As one of my former bosses used to say – “You make a mess, you clean it up”.  Although I don’t have Step 10 down pat by any means, it’s a huge relief to be able to break out of my old pattern of self-righteousness defensiveness by promptly admitting that I am wrong, and proceeding to make the necessary “course corrections”.

 

Walking the Wellness Path in Recovery

Why I Embraced the Concept of Wellness and Recovery

                Throughout most of my adult life I’ve been a passionate “health nut”.  I took up meditation 30 years ago, strive to maintain a healthy, semi-vegetarian diet, and walk 45 minutes each day, in addition to a daily yoga session and a regimen of muscle toning exercises every other day.  Without going overboard, when I’m feeling under the weather I have a strong preference for nutritional supplements, herbs, homeopathic remedies, guided imagery and other natural healing agents, as opposed to taking either prescribed or over-the-counter medication.

In the 1970’s I passionately embraced the holistic health and wellness movements, becoming a “wellness conference groupie”.  To a large extent, this reflected an inner desire to blend my professional training in health services administration with my life-long love for the counseling field.  Also, the older I got, the more I became disenchanted with the shortcomings of conventional medicine, with its over-emphasis on expensive, high-tech interventions focusing on end-stage illness, rather than actively encouraging patients to stay healthy by taking charge of their health.

In the late 1980’s I was recruited by a psychiatric hospital chain to develop and market a dual diagnosis chemical dependency treatment track at their new hospital in Fontana, California.  As I began working actively in the addictions field, I was struck by the many parallels between adopting a healthy lifestyle and working one’s recovery program.  Simply put, recovery involves taking charge of your life, whereas wellness involves taking charge of your health, while concurrently striving to attain maximum personal fulfillment in your journey through this life.

As I gained some grounding in the field, I was impressed by many people I met who were continually strengthening their recovery through consciously embracing a wellness lifestyle.  At the same time, I was saddened by the early demise by a number of counselors I worked with, due to toxic lifestyle choices they carried over into their recovery.  These included various forms of food addictions, nicotine and caffeine addiction, and other dangerous “substitute addictions”.  I sadly witnessed a number of colleagues prematurely struck down by a wide range of lifestyle related illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes and various forms of cancer.  This was despite the fact that these fine men and women were conscientiously working their 12-Step recovery programs.

 

Why a Wellness Lifestyle is Critically Important to Recovery

Let’s begin by setting forth a basic working definition of wellness.  I like to define wellness as the dynamic process of taking charge of your health, and programming yourself to attain optimal health and well-being.  Notice the emphasis on taking charge of your health.  By this I mean that you set your own goals and priorities, design and implement your own wellness program, and determine just how far you want to go.  While working to get your house in order in terms of pursuing optimal health through sound nutrition, regular exercise and other health-conducive behaviors is critically important, it is not the only focus by any means.  Indeed, from a wellness perspective it is imperative that we take decisive action to maximize our QUALITY of our life – finding and embracing our own unique sense of purpose, doing things that make us feel good about ourselves and most importantly, enjoying the journey.

 

Why is wellness essential to the process of recovery?  Very briefly:

  • A wellness lifestyle is essential in repairing damage to your mind and body, stemming from the cumulative impact of years of abusive use of alcohol, drugs and other addictive substances.
  • A wellness lifestyle will help you strengthen your commitment to recovery, while safeguarding against relapse to drinking and drug use. (More on this later.)
  • Adopting a wellness lifestyle can dramatically increase your self-confidence, through learning to replace negative behaviors with positive actions, while anchoring yourself in recovery.
  • And finally – A wellness lifestyle will help you reap the full benefits of quality sobriety, while adding years – if not decades – to your life expectancy.

 

Let’s focus for a moment on the role of a wellness lifestyle in safeguarding against relapse.  Briefly stated:

  • A wellness lifestyle reinforces your commitment to clean and sober living. You’ll find that you are having so much fun that you won’t want to return to drinking and drugging.
  • Sound nutrition, exercise, adequate rest, and effective stress management skills help protect you against relapse during early recovery, when the mind and body are most vulnerable.
  • By continuing to follow a wellness lifestyle, you will experience additional JOY and GROWTH in the middle and latter stages of recovery.
  • A wellness lifestyle safeguards against relapse through fostering the resiliency needed to cope with life’s ups and downs, without turning to alcohol or drugs.
  • Through adopting a nutritious, health-conducive pattern of eating, you will strengthen your mind and body, while combating the biochemical imbalances that may trigger a relapse episode (excessive sugar and caffeine, etc.) (More on this later.)

 

Applying the Tools of Wellness in Strengthening Your Recovery

 

In my mid-late 30s, while working as a research associate and doctoral student at the UCLA School of Public Health, I began to develop an appreciation of the importance of taking charge of our health.  As previously mentioned, I had become disenchanted with the focus of conventional medicine, with its over-emphasis on high-tech medical interventions and surgery, rather than empowering people to take charge of their health.  In late 1969 (I believe it was the day after Christmas), my father succumbed to a heart attack and died at age 61.  In my opinion, that was far too early to leave this life behind, and my brothers and I were determined not to repeat that pattern.  Yet as I looked to the offerings of conventional medicine for guidance, I was sorely disappointed.  Other than monitoring myself via frequent medical check-ups, going on medication if I developed high blood pressure and/or elevated cholesterol, and undergoing risky surgery if my arteries got too clogged up, the regular medical route did not appear to have much to offer from a preventative standpoint – at least not at that point in time.

Delving into the holistic health movement during the 1970s, I became intrigued by the teachings of two pioneers in the wellness movement – Dr. John Travis, and Don Ardell, author of “High Level Wellness”.  Studying under Travis, Ardell, and other “holistic health gurus”, including Dr. Norman Shealey and, more recently, the holistically-oriented Cardiologist Dr. Dean Ornish, I became convinced that I could take a proactive stance and TAKE CHARGE OF MY HEALTH.   Later on, as I became immersed in the addictions field, I felt strongly that the same wellness principles which were working so well in my own life would be highly applicable to the lives of people in recovery from addictive disorders.  I saw the whole concept of wellness as providing them with an exciting set of tools to strengthen their recovery, while at the same time dramatically improving their health status, life expectancy and overall quality of life.  This speculation was borne out by findings of my main research project for my Ph.D. in psychology, which focused on exploring the association between following a wellness-oriented lifestyle and strengthening one’s recovery from chemical dependency.  This research did, in fact, reveal a strong connection between wellness and recovery.  More specifically, my study findings indicated that study participants who completed treatment and also followed a wellness lifestyle enjoyed a significantly lower rate of relapse to drinking and drug use, than was the case for subjects completing treatment who did not adhere to a healthy lifestyle.

To be honest, the health status of most adult Americans is nothing to write home about, as witnessed by prevailing epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, coupled with the highly sedentary lifestyles that most Americans lead.  That’s the bad news.  Now here’s the good news – As a recovering alcoholic/addict who has entered treatment, you are becoming aware of the damage that years of excessive drinking and drug use has done to your mind and body, in addition to derailing you from pursuing your unique sense of purpose.  Consequently, I predict that you will be highly motivated to integrate a wellness lifestyle into your recovery program, which will enable you to strengthen your qualitative experience of recovery and fully enjoy the many exciting years that lie ahead.

Over the remaining pages, we’ll review specific pointers to help you go about using some basic wellness tools to strengthen your ongoing recovery process.  And remember, you don’t need to attempt to pursue all of these suggestions at once.  Just as the program encourages us to take it one step at a time, in incorporating a wellness lifestyle into your recovery program, I urge that you start with manageable steps in those areas that are most important to you at this point in your life.  The important thing is to keep moving in the right direction, and enjoy the journey!

 

Taking Charge of Your Health

 

                When you entered treatment, you made a decision to take charge of a very important area of your life – freeing yourself from your addiction.  Paradoxically, the first step is admitting your powerlessness over your addiction.  Once you have accepted your powerlessness, you can then begin to gain power through turning your life over to your higher power, and drawing on the tools of the programs – together with the wisdom of fellow 12-Steppers, in breaking free from addiction’s deadly grip.

Drawing an analogy between the recovery process and adopting a wellness lifestyle, you must first own the fact that you are powerless over the past damage you have done to your mind and body as a consequence of your excessive use of alcohol and drugs.  This “negative karma”, so to speak, generally involves serious malnutrition and other harmful consequences associated with an addictive lifestyle.  Having entered the process of recovery, however, you are now in a perfect position to take charge of your health.  Briefly stated, you can establish a secure foothold in taking charge of your health by taking the following steps:

  • Learning the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, and zeroing in on those benefits that you would like to enjoy.
  • Committing yourself to take focused action directed toward improving your health status and quality of life, starting with manageable steps while keeping your long-range goals in sight.
  • Doing the legwork – with the help of your higher power, friends and mentors in the program, and other “wellness guides” who may appear in your life.

 

Over the remainder of this article, you will be introduced to some basic precepts of wellness and recovery, together with practical pointers on how to apply these principles in your recovery program.

 

 

 

 

Laying a Solid Nutritional Foundation for Your Recovery

 

The role of nutrition in recovery is so important that I devote two chapters to this topic in “The Wellness-Recovery Connection”.  The fact that our bodies replace each cell and tissue every seven years gives new meaning to the old saying “you are what you eat”.  Unfortunately, the diets of most alcoholics and addicts are abysmally poor.   Methamphetamine addicts, in particular, tend to be emaciated as a consequence of their addiction to this deadly substance, and require structured guidance in getting their diets on track.

One of the most insidious consequences of alcoholism and drug addiction is the disruption of appetite and displacement of nutritious foods.  If you are an alcoholic consuming one fifth of whiskey (or its equivalent) each day, you are taking in 2,200 calories just from booze alone.  Considering that the recommended food intake for most Americans ranges between 2,500-2,750 calories per day, this doesn’t leave much room for tofu, veggies and other nutritious food choices!  Likewise, over time, excessive alcohol consumption can have toxic effects on many parts of the body, including the heart, brain, digestive track, liver and spleen.

Excessive alcohol consumption also leads to a predisposition to artery-clogging, high-fat foods.  This is because when we eat fatty foods while drinking, these foods tend to slow the brain’s absorption of alcohol, enabling us to consume more drinks at one sitting.  Unfortunately, many if not most recovering alcoholics carry this predisposition for fatty foods over into their recovery.

One of the most serious nutritional consequences of alcoholism is the “alcohol-sugar connection”.  Chemically, alcohol is a highly concentrated form of sugar.  Excessive alcohol consumption causes erratic imbalances in the body’s blood-sugar level, which tend to precipitate uncomfortable mood swings, together with an overriding sensation of low energy and lack of focus.  Many physicians and nutritionists now believe that most alcoholics suffer from alcohol-induced hypoglycemia, a condition that continues to plague our bodies when we discontinue drinking.  Many, if not most, alcoholics in early recovery develop heavy cravings for sugar. This causes them to consume even more sugar than the amount consumed by most Americans, which now exceeds100 pounds per year! This over-loading on sugary foods, coupled with excessive caffeine consumption, functions to trigger serious imbalances in the body’s blood sugar level.  The uncomfortable feelings associated with erratic blood sugar fluctuations contribute to increased susceptibility to relapse.  This can be a particularly problematic in the early stages of recovery.

Now that we’ve reviewed some basic nutritional hazards relating to alcoholism and drug addiction, let’s take a look at the good news.  Through consciously integrating a wellness lifestyle into your recovery program, and working under guidance of a skilled counselor, together with a physician and/or a nutritionist with experience in working with people with a history of addiction, you can learn – over time – to bring your diet into balance.   By doing so, you will ENJOY eating delicious, whole food choices, while at the same time experiencing dramatically improved levels of energy and alertness.

In terms of a basic primer on nutrition and recovery, consider the following:

  • Work toward bringing your diet into better balance through emphasizing fresh whole grain products, and five or more daily servings of fresh vegetables and fruit (preferably organically grown). At the same time, de-emphasize (go lightly on) processed foods, and foods high in fat and sugar content.
  • Learn to eat lightly on the food chain – I personally prefer adding plant-based sources of protein (tofu, tempe, polenta, rice and beans, etc.) to my diet, together with several weekly servings of wild salmon or other smaller varieties of fish (which tend to be lower in mercury content). Also, go lightly on caffeine.  If you are drinking more than 2-3 cups of coffee per day (or the equivalent in terms of cola beverages), I would highly recommend getting help in either cutting back of caffeine, or eliminating it altogether.
  • IMPORTANT: I highly recommend normalizing your blood sugar by eating 3 relatively small meals per day, interspersed by 3 nutritious snacks.  For most people, this is a very healthy way to eat.
  • TRANSITIONING: I generally recommend that people in recovery give themselves 12-18 months to transition to a fully health-conducive diet.  Get creative and broaden your horizons – Read a good book on nutrition, experiment with ordering vegetarian entrees at restaurants and adding these to your repertoire for home cooking, and “hang out” with folks who pride themselves as being health conscious, particularly when it comes to nutrition and exercise.

 

Fitness and Recovery

 

The benefits of exercise are legendary – including improved cardiovascular endurance, vitality and alertness; heightened self-esteem; relief from depression and increased ability to handle stress; and dramatically improved resistance to disease.  In my opinion, engaging in a regular exercise program represents the best form of “health insurance” we can give ourselves!

Regular exercise is also an important part of any sound program for preventing relapse and promoting long-term sobriety.  A classic Canadian study focused on patients completing a residential treatment program for alcoholism.  One group completed an augmented program which included one hour of intensive physical conditioning every day, the other group completed the regular program without the exercise component.  Upon follow-up several months after release from treatment, almost twice as many patients in the exercise group remained clean and sober as was the case for patients who completed treatment without the exercise component.

One of the tangible benefits that exercise offers people in recovery is the production of endorphins – internal chemical messengers that trigger the pleasure centers of our brains.  This is particularly important in helping to combat spells of depression that often occur in the early stages of sobriety, as both the body and mind are struggling to achieve a new sense of equilibrium, free from dependency on alcohol or drugs.  Exercise also serves as an important stress management tool, as when we engage in vigorous exercise we literally work the stresses out of our bodies.  Thus regular exercise can be very helpful in strengthening your recovery by taking the “edge” off of day-to-day stresses.

Taking up a regular exercise program can also be a very important step in grounding yourself in your recovery, as you are taking charge and doing something tangible toward replacing your former addictive behaviors with a very beneficial health conducive behavior.  Recovering alcoholics and addicts who engage in regular exercise almost invariably report dramatic improvements in self-esteem and their overall sense of well-being.

The American College of Sports Medicine currently recommends 30 minutes or more of moderately intensive physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week.  This is certainly an excellent goal to shoot for.  Examples of moderately vigorous activity include brisk walking or jogging, bicycling, fast dancing and many household chores.

How do you get started?  First of all, choose an exercise that you enjoy (or believe you can learn to enjoy) – otherwise you won’t stay with it.   Brisk walking is an excellent form of exercise for most people, as it is easy to do and requires very little investment, other than the cost of a good pair of walking shoes.  If you haven’t exercised for awhile, you may wish to start with 5-10 minutes of walking on a daily basis, increasing this by 5 minutes each week until you reach your desired goal of 30 minutes per day.  It’s also a good idea to check with your doctor before starting if you are over 40 or have a history of chronic health problems.

Keep track of your progress, and make sure that you are sticking to your exercise program at least 5 days a week.  If you find that business commitments or family obligations are preventing you from exercising at the time you had set aside, simply reschedule your exercise session to another time that same day.  I am currently blessed by living in a very scenic community in Western Washington with an abundance of hills and breath-taking water views.  I start my day by walking 45 minutes up and down the hills and along the waterfront, and invariably return home completely energized and looking forward to starting my work day.

                               

Stress Management and Central Purpose

 

                Learning to effectively manage day-to-day stresses without the need for alcohol or drugs is an essential component of any sound recovery program.  Helpful pointers for stress management in recovery include:

  • Practice the Serenity Prayer – EVERY DAY. I find that this little prayer is a profoundly helpful tool for sorting out stress-provoking situations into those aspects that we can work to change or control, vs. those items where we need to practice acceptance.  Applying the Serenity Prayer to life’s challenges helps take the edge off of these problems, enabling us to gain a healthier sense of perspective.
  • Keep Breathing – When we are overly stressed, our breathing tends to become constricted and shallow. Notice your breathing – and consciously take a moment to calm yourself down when you’re feeling over-stressed, by slowly taking several deep, relaxing breaths.
  • Develop Time Management Skills – Prioritize your daily activities, and avoid constantly over-extending yourself. Over the years, I’ve learned to cut myself some slack each day.  In fact, as soon as I finish this section, I’m heading down to the beach for some quality time in the sun!  By the same token, make sure that your day is structured and filled with purposeful activity.
  • Exercise and Meditation – As previously mentioned, exercise is an excellent aid for keeping our day-to-day stresses at a manageable level. You may also wish to experiment with some form of meditation or daily relaxation ritual (for example, reflective prayer, watching the sunset, or listening to relaxing music).

 

We all need a strong sense of purpose in our lives, as nature abhors a vacuum.  When our lives are lacking in purpose, we tend to fill the void by engaging in a wide variety of self-destructive activities –  including excessive use of alcohol and drugs, irresponsible sexual behavior, and addictive use of food, tobacco and other substances.  In my book, I refer to central purpose as the royal road to health and longevity.  I have always been fascinated by the fact that throughout history, men and women who truly followed their dreams often lived decades beyond their contemporaries.  If you don’t believe me, take a look at the obituaries in your local paper.  While the current average life expectancy in America hovers around 75 years, people who have made their mark on the world and are featured in the obituary sections of major daily papers often passed on at ages well into their 80s, or 90s or even beyond.

I firmly believe that creating a life characterized by a strong and overriding sense of purpose goes hand in hand with successful recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction, as when we wake up in the morning excited about what lies ahead, we are strongly motivated to take good care of ourselves.

How does one go about embracing a strong sense of purpose.  I would suggest that a good starting point is to spend some time reflecting on the following questions:

  • What were your favorite courses in school? (Not necessarily the ones where you got the best grades.)
  • What activities do you thoroughly enjoy doing?
  • What would you really like to see yourself doing with your life, looking 10, 20 years down the road?
  • And finally – What sort of legacy do you want to leave behind when you are finally ready to depart this planet? (Hopefully many years in the future.)

 

Once you’ve been able to come up with some concrete thoughts regarding what you would like to do with your life, you then need to address the question – “How do I get from here to there?”  Remembering that you’ve got a lifetime ahead of you to accomplish your goals, I strongly advocate beginning with a series of manageable steps, designed to get you moving in the right direction.  For example, suppose that you have a strong motivation to help others as a counselor.  You could start moving in that direction by interviewing several counselors concerning what it’s really like to work in that field, and how they got started with their own careers.  You might almost begin to explore the field more fully by taking one or more courses in counseling at your local community college.  As is true in all aspects of recovery, the important thing is to make a concerted effort to keep moving in the right direction, taking it one step at a time.

 

Freeing Yourself from Nicotine Addiction

 

If you are in the early stages of recovery, chances are that you are a regular cigarette smoker.  Cigarette smoking is, in fact, the leading cause of death for people in recovery.  The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that 70 percent of alcoholics are heavy smokers, smoking more than one pack of cigarettes a day.  Both co-founders of AA died from tobacco-related causes.  While many, if not most, alcoholics/addicts carry their nicotine addiction over into their recovery, the majority really want to quit.  You can add up to 14 years to your life expectancy by freeing yourself from this deadly habit.

When is the best time to quit?  While some people are ready to give up smoking at the time they enter treatment, many are not ready to take on their addiction to nicotine until they’ve got some sobriety under their belt.  I strongly believe, however, that everyone who is still smoking and is serious about pursuing quality sobriety should commit themselves to breaking free from nicotine sometime during their first 18 months of sobriety.

During my years in the addictions field, I’ve had the sad experience of burying a number of excellent counselors who were conscientiously working their programs, only to succumb to the deadly consequences of their smoking behavior.  Consequently, in “The Wellness-Recovery Connection”, I devote an entire chapter to empowering readers to free themselves from nicotine.  When you are ready to confront your nicotine addiction head on, you may find the following pointers helpful:

  • Write down on a card your primary reason for wanting to quit – and always carry this with you. Be specific – for example:  “I want to live to see my grandchildren grow up”.
  • Elicit your doctor’s support – Most doctors will be highly supportive of a smoker who earnestly wants to quit. Openly discuss your nicotine addiction with your doctor, and ask them to help you formulate a strategy for quitting.  Nicotine replacement therapies have helped millions navigate the hurdles of nicotine withdrawal.  However, as these therapies carry with them their own addictive potential, they should be used under medical supervision.
  • Set a date for quitting, announce this to your friends, family and co-workers, and elicit their support. Throw away all cigarettes the night before your quit date.   Hang out with fellow non-smokers, especially during work breaks, and try to avoid situations that trigger the urge to smoke.
  • IMPORTANT: Steer clear of the smokeless tobacco products currently being marketed by the tobacco companies.  These products contain significant amounts of nicotine and other toxic chemicals, and have been linked to various forms of cancer.
  • Other sources of help – Most state health departments maintain toll-free tobacco quit lines, staffed by skilled counselors who can help you over the rough edges of nicotine withdrawal. The national number that links to local quit lines is: 800-QUIT-NOW.  Excellent sources of group support include Nicotine Anonymous, the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society.  If your primary sponsor is a non-smoker, elicit his or her support in making it through the hurdles of nicotine withdrawal.  If you primary sponsor is still smoking, get a secondary sponsor to help you quit smoking while continuing to work your recovery program.
  • Don’t get discouraged – The average smoker quits 5-8 times before finally kicking the habit. If you slip, view this as a learning experience, congratulate yourself for trying, and “huddle” with your doctor and your support team.  Then set a new quit date – to take place sometime within the next 30 days.

 

While nicotine is an insidious addiction, PERSISTENCE PAYS.  Visualize yourself becoming a successful non-smoker, and you will ultimately reach your goal.

 

Concluding Remarks

 

I commend you on your commitment to recovery, and hope that I have been able to inspire you to make adopting a wellness-oriented lifestyle an integral part of your recovery program.  Remember, wellness and recovery do, indeed, go hand in hand.  It is my heartfelt desire that your journey along the parallel paths of wellness and recovery will dramatically improve your quality of life, add many years of joyful living to your life span, and yield dividends that extend beyond your wildest dreams.  To your health!

 

 

John Newport, Ph.D. is a free-lance writer, speaker and consultant based in Port Townsend, Washington, who specializes in wellness education and recovery from addictive disorders.  He is author of “The Wellness-Recovery Connection: Charting Your Pathway to Optimal Health While Recovering from Alcoholism and Drug Addiction” (Health Communications, Inc., 2004).  He has published over 100 articles on wellness, addictions and other health-related issues, and is a featured columnist for “Counselor: The Magazine for Addictions Professionals” and “Steps for Recovery”.   He is currently producing a series of workbooks stressing clinical applications of wellness and recovery, in collaboration with world-renowned relapse prevention authority Terence T. Gorski and the CENAPS Corporation.  For further information on wellness and recovery, including a series of articles that you can download free of charge, visit Dr. Newport’s website www.wellnessandrecovery.com.