Entering rehab is an accomplishment in itself, but it’s definitely not a guaranteed safety net. Studies indicate that somewhere between 40 and 60 percent of individuals treated for drug or alcohol addiction relapse within the first year, proving that staying sober can be a challenge. So, when traditional treatment and 12-step support groups aren’t enough, it may be time to add in an alternative treatment method into your routine. Here are a few options to consider that just may help you stay on the straight path while enhancing your life at the same time.




It’s no secret that exercise has copious health benefits, but for recovery survivors, research suggests that regular physical activity can aid in relapse prevention due to its mood-boosting and self-confidence building benefits. The best thing about exercise is that it can be done anywhere, and there are several options to stay motivated, whether that means a gym, joining a recreational sports team, taking group classes, or streaming an exercise video on YouTube. Just make sure to see your doctor for a check-up before starting a routine, especially if it’s been a while and/or you have any underlying medical conditions. It’s possible that you may even discover underlying issues that stem from your previous addiction, so it’s crucial that you make sure your health is in check.


Animal Therapy


Animal therapy — specifically with dogs and horses — has been known to improve the detox process, quicken recovery, and prevent a relapse. Why? It’s believed that because the human race once relied on animal signals as a source of survival, working with them can trigger positive results during psychotherapy treatment and detox. It’s also not uncommon for recovery survivors to have a mental health issue such as depression, and animals can help alleviate feelings of sadness, anxiety, and loneliness. You’re also building trust with an animal through taking care of it and being active together, so this can be the loving distraction you need to fight cravings and gain control over your thoughts.


Art And Music Therapy


Traditional art therapy dates back to the ‘50s, when a certified therapist would use the creative process of art to help an individual explore their deeply rooted feelings, thoughts, and behaviors while improving self-esteem. While this is still the same protocol today, it need not be so rigid. Simply taking an art or music class or setting up a creative space within your home to paint, draw, play an instrument, or make jewelry can still be beneficial — you may even discover a new hobby from the exercise, which can boost self-esteem and prompt feelings of empowerment. Art therapy is a great outlet for reducing anxiety, tapping into an inner-passion, decreasing resistance to addiction treatment, increasing motivation, improving social skills, lessening feelings of shame and guilt, aiding in relaxation, and preventing a relapse.


Supplements Herbal Medicine


It’s not uncommon for those with a previous addiction to have vitamin and mineral deficiencies, heart disease, liver malfunction, or a metabolic disorder such as hypoglycemia or hypothyroidism. Nutritional support is the key to any treatment program, especially since it’s not uncommon to trade drugs or alcohol with sugar, caffeine, or nicotine. It’s important to have a clean diet that supports the detox process, but it can also be enhanced by supplements and herbs. For example, calcium helps strengthen the nervous system, zinc supports liver deterioration and a low immune system, potassium aids with depression, milk thistle is known to have amazing healing properties for the liver, skullcap can help with withdrawal symptoms, and many more in the vitamin and herb category. Check with your doctor so you’re not self-medicating and getting too much of something, as that can have an adverse effect.


What works for one recovery survivor may not work for you, so don’t be afraid to experiment with multiple alternative treatment methods. The most important thing is maintenance so you can achieve long-term sobriety. If you fall off the wagon, use it as an opportunity to reevaluate your treatment program so you can set yourself up for success.



Kimberly Hayes enjoys writing about health and wellness and created PublicHealthAlert.info to help keep the public informed about the latest developments in popular health issues and concerns. In addition to studying to become a crisis intervention counselor, Kimberly is hard at work on her new book, which discusses the ins and outs of alternative addiction treatments.


Photo Credit: Pixabay

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