Holistic Alternatives For Addiction Recovery

Recovering from a drug addiction is one of the hardest things for a person to do—especially when you’re feeling depressed and looking for something to help improve your mood.

For those who need a little bit of extra help, natural medicine can be an invaluable tool. Here are five holistic ways those recovering from a drug addiction can boost their mood and feel more comfortable:

1. Try Yoga

Though yoga might seem like a pastime for ultra-flexible millennials, it’s a skill that can benefit anyone regardless of their health or fitness levels. Yoga traditionally combines postures, meditation, and breathing exercises, moving through the poses as you learn how to breathe correctly. While there are other forms of yoga—like hot yoga, for example, which you practice in a sauna-like room—traditional yoga can be a great tool to help you while you’re recovering.

In addition to improving physical health, yoga is often paired with meditation, which can contribute to improving your sense of self and teach you to embrace your strength without the crutch of your addiction. There are yoga classes and retreats specifically for recovering addicts around the country that are led by some of the most enlightened yogis in the United States.

2. Watch Your Diet

They say you are what you eat, and that goes double for your diet during recovery. Heavy drug use is incredibly damaging to the body, and while you may not be able to reverse all the damage simply by eating healthy food, it can help make you feel better. When you feel better, your mood improves.

If you’re not sure where to start, try these simple steps:

  • Stay hydrated. Take the time to drink plenty of water during the day. The general recommendation is that you should drink around 64 ounces of water a day, but that will vary depending on your activity level and the temperature outside.
  • Eat healthy. Fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein—like chicken and fish—and whole grain carbs are the best way to go. There are many simple ways to start eating a cleaner diet.
  • Ditch the junk food. Treats are great but don’t stock up on junk food, or you’ll be tempted to eat it all.
  • Have everything in moderation. Don’t restrict your food intake. Instead, just eat everything in moderation. Learning about portioning will help you in the long run.

3. Get Off the Couch

Yoga is great, but it’s not the same as a cardio workout. Get off the couch and start exercising. Exercise has been shown to improve mood and mental health, and you don’t have to run a marathon to see the benefits. Moderate exercise—even just walking around the block a few times—is enough for you to reap the benefits.

In addition to helping with various mental illnesses, exercise has been shown to improve overall energy, help you sleep better and even boost your self-esteem.

4. Don’t Be Afraid of Needles

First, it’s important to note that this form of holistic treatment might not be an option for everyone. The treatment that helps you best will depend on the kind of addiction that you’re recovering from. It might take some time to find the type of therapy that works best for you.

Acupuncture can be a great option to help improve your mood throughout recovery as well as your overall well-being. It’s been proven to make the detoxification process less painful, and make recovery manageable, or at least easier.

If needles aren’t an option for you, either due to the type of addiction you’re recovering from or just because you’re afraid of needles, similar effects can be achieved using acupressure therapy. Acupressure stimulates the same points that acupuncture does by using pressure points instead of needles.

5. Four-Legged Therapists

Do you have a dog or cat keeping you company at home? If so, you’re already in a good position. Pets have been shown to lower stress, reduce anxiety and even regulate your blood pressure and heart rate.  Pet therapy is often used for individuals with mental illnesses. Some animals, such as horses, are used for people who have physical disabilities. These pet-related therapies can be beneficial for people recovering from addiction.


Recovering from an addiction is never easy—in fact, it may be the hardest thing you ever do—but there are plenty of resources available to help you along the way. Take advantage of them, and your road to recovery will be a little less bumpy.