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Staying Healthy in Recovery

You can agree that drugs and alcohol took a toll on your body. Your friends, family and medical professionals all can vouch for your withering health too. Getting clean and sober is the first step toward renewing a healthy body. But it doesn’t stop there.
Being healthy in recovery means that you eat right, exercise and get enough rest to not only heal your broken body, but restore your spirit as well. (It’s really tough to work the steps or talk rationally to your new friends when you have low blood sugar, for example, or a pounding toothache.) Staying healthy in recovery also means that you recognize medical and dental problems that you’ve neglected as you spent all your energy on getting and using drugs.
Making up the Losses

Your drug use lead to a host of nutritional deficiencies. Opiate use results in low levels of vitamin D, iron, calcium and B6. Heavy alcohol abuse usually leads to huge deficiencies in most nutrients. And cocaine addiction results in a dramatic decrease in essential omega-3 fatty acids.
Ideally, your family doctor can test you for the most glaring deficiencies and recommend a diet to help replenish and restore your lost health. A nutritious, balanced diet to promote your health in recovery consists of:

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• A lot of protein that provides those important amino acids you need to build the neurotransmitters that direct your brain activity
• Much less sugar than you may be accustomed to consuming because sugar directly affects your moods
• Fiber to help restore your gastrointestinal functions to proper levels
• Healthy fats such as olive oil and the kind found in fish, nuts and flax seeds to help your body absorb important vitamins

Move Your Body

There are many potential benefits to maintaining a healthy diet and setting physical goals for yourself in recovery. While there is no such thing as a “healthyaddiction,” you may actually discover new, healthy ways to blow off some steam and feel good about yourself. You may be surprised to find just as much support for recovery throughout the health and fitness community as you do in the 12-step meetings.
Not only will you find people working through their recovery at the gym, hiking trails and local pool,but you’ll also find them tubing down rivers and playing organized sports.Team activities also give you the added benefit of building friendships with like-minded men.Find a sport or activity that you can stick to and maintain your motivation as your body heals and your health in recovery gets better each day.

Caveats to Health in Recovery

Feeling better physically has the power to increase your confidence mentally. Replace bad habits with healthy hobbies. Start small. Take walks for relaxation or throw the football with some of the other guys at Willow Recovery House. The changes you make now impact your life for years to come.
At the same time, there are some things that you should avoid as your health returns. Sometimes those new “healthy addictions” can take a whole other turn on you and your body if you don’t maintain and practice the principle of moderation:

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• Limit the amount of caffeine you consume (this can be difficult when coffee often is the staple of your new life and abundant in meetings). Too much caffeine triggers anxiety, causes jitters and interferes with your sleep.
• Start slow and maintain limits to your new exercise routines. If you find yourself obsessing about how many miles you run or how much weight you’re lifting, talk to your sponsor and the guys in the house who have been through it — they will tell you too much of a good thing also can hurt your health in recovery.
• Consider eating smaller meals more often rather than the standard three meals a day to prevent sugar crashes that can lead to cravings for your drug of choice.
• Get in a regular sleep routine. While staying up all night talking about all your new revelations is OK once in a while, a regular habit of losing sleep takes its toll on your physical and mental health.
Find your Zen in a long walk in the woods; get your head together over a lengthy meal preparation of fresh vegetables (that maybe you even grew in your own garden); take the steam out of a resentment by working out on a punching bag; energize yourself with a rousing game of volleyball on the beach with your new friends. Your body will reward you with a renewed sense of wellness and peace.

Attending Events Clean

Go Team!

Going to events clean doesn’t have to throw you for a loop. In fact, you may find that you enjoy everything from sporting events to concerts more than ever when you’re clean and sober. For one thing — you’re sure to remember them the next day. For another, going to events clean gives you just one more reason to bond with your new friends in recovery.
Nobody parties like people in recovery. While your family may be rejoicing in your new-found freedom from addiction, recovery is hardly a time for mourning on your part. It’s about celebrating! So grab your like-minded new friends and get out and have some fun: just don’t forget to bring your recovery with you!

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Old Dogs and New Tricks

Addiction is all about being numb and trying to escape. Sobriety is all about learning how to feel again and being present in the moment. And that does not mean that you have to give up your former interests when you get clean either. If, for example, you love to listen to live music on weekends or attend every home game of your alma mater, there isn’t any reason that you can’t continue going to events clean!
You may even find new interests that you never had time for while you were in the throes of addiction. Sports may never have been on your radar, but after meeting a few guys at Willow Recovery House that are really into football or baseball, you decide to give it a try. After a little while working, you’ll have enough extra money to take in a concert and pay for really good seats. You may even have enough to grab dinner before the show!

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Fill Your Life

Taking the time to go to meetings,a concert, sporting events and social gatherings is the perfectchance to network and get to know people. Connectingwith people and forging healthy relationships are vital parts of your new life. Embrace life. Have fun.
Take your recovery with you when you’re going to events clean. Talk to your sponsor; discuss your intentions with your new friends in Willow Recovery House; let your family know where you’ll be. Being transparent is part of your new persona in recovery and it should continue when you step outside the confines of the meetings to attend outside events.

Never Alone, Never Again

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You’ll find plenty of advice and experience in your newfound recovery network to help you navigate going to events clean while having the best time you ever imagined. Listen and follow those tips for going to events clean that might include:

• Take someone in recovery with you or go with a group that’s in recovery.
• Tell others where you’re going and when you expect to return.
• Check out the venue beforehand if possible.
• Find out if alcohol is being served.
• Ask if there are family-friendly areas where you can sit.
• Arrive late so that you can scope out the spot where you’ll sit or stand and won’t be caught between the big partyers at the event and unable to change your seats.
• Agree with your companions that if anyone gets uncomfortable, you all will leave.
• Promise yourself that you will leave if you feel uncomfortable — no matter what anyone else does!

The Healing Mountains of Western North Carolina

It’s definitely time for you to enjoy a sunrise in Western North Carolina. Put your busy and often stressful life on pause. Gaze in joyous wonder as dawn breaks over the North Carolina Mountains. Watch as the light slowly creeps its way into the valleys filling their dark corners with light.
The experience itself is well worth the time and trouble of rising early. Witnessing this marvel of natural beauty spreads hope, peace, and a new day, to all the darkenedlands. This perfectly reflects what it means to find recovery within this region of wonder and healing.
Recovery in the North CarolinaMountains is equally as magical. This doesn’t mean that recovery is a magical phenomenon. There is no such thing as a magical cure for addiction. Recovery is a process that requires hard work, dedication, stability, and support. But as you observe the light of recovery fill in the dark places carved out by the erosion of addiction, you understand the promise held by a new day.



The nurturing environment of the North Carolina Mountains is legendary. From the Cherokee shaman, to the tuberculous sanitariums, to the full bloom of its recovery community; the undeniable healing properties of this region have stood the test of time.
Even entering Western North Carolina is fresh air for the soul. Beautiful skies, breathtaking views and southern hospitality flavored with the unique charm that only the North Carolina Mountains can offer. All of this adds up to a memorable experience for even the most cynical or seasoned traveler. But weary souls seeking shelter and safety in the embrace of these mountains, find more comfort than they imagined possible.


The spirit of the natives and the pioneering drive of the settlers pushing westward in search of a better life still linger in the air. But what separates North Carolinas Mountains for recovery is hardly as mystical as appears. This region was built on hard work and support. There is a large network of steadfast and dedicated organizations and individuals that are committed to spreading light into the deepest recesses of addiction.
Sure, the land is compelling, but the people are the driving force that keeps you moving forward. Love, acceptance, support and guidance are the tools of recovery used to clean the shame and stigma tracked into your life by drugs and alcohol.Isn’t it time to open your eyes to the beauty of life?

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When you’re buried by addiction and feeling hopeless, it’s easy to forget the beauty that greets us in the morning. And it’s even easier to forget how lucky you are to see each new day.
The next time you find yourself off the beaten path in the North Carolina Mountains, stop. Just stop. Take a minute to breath. Just breathe. Relax. Let go. Rediscover your small, inner voice and listen to what you have to say to yourself. You just might be able to like who you are and respect what you’ve survived.The darkness does not have to last forever. That’s the promise of a new day.

Every Day Is New When You Live One Day at a Time

When the New Year blows in, it often brings with it the promise of new and better days ahead. You may, like many in the world, consider the New Year representative of new opportunities, new possibilities and maybe just another chance to get it right.

And while all this is true, you have that opportunity to begin anew every day that you wake up clean and sober. Striving to live one day at a time may sound cliché — one of those New Year resolutions that are meant to be broken — but it’s worth the effort. And just like the other, positive mantras you learn in the program, clichés usually have some serious wisdom behind them, which is why they’re overused to begin with.

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Resolutions are Just for Today

At the same time, saying you’re going to live one day at a time iseasier than actually doing it. With a strong network of support — at the Willow Recovery Houseand from your new friends and support through your Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, you can learn tricks for keeping it in the moment, for living one day at a time and for making it New Year’s Day every day.

Through the program of recovery that you’ve found, you’re given a toolbox to help you practice these good habits one day at a time. Those who have gone before you learned how to live just for today. A few of the tools they discovered along the way to help them also will work for you:

• When you find yourself thinking — or worrying— about tomorrow, tell yourself you’ve only got today. Practice your third step and give your worries to your Higher Power.
• Hang notes around your house, on your desk, in your car, on your phone’s screensaver that remind you that you’ve only got today.
• Make a habit of smelling the roses, another cliché that means notice the people, places and things around you to keep you anchored in the moment.
• Point out to your housemates at Willow House when they’re taking off into future fantasies or past regrets. This will keep you focused as well because then you keep it by giving it away.
• Ask those same roommates to call you on your mental meanderings when they occur.

Why Bother?

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The wisdom behind the cliché of one day at a time is plentiful. In other words, there are lots of good reasons why it’s healthier and more productive to live in the moment, despite seeming logic to the contrary.

The temptations of relapse, even if it’s just a relapse into worrying about the past and present, may never disappear completely. Adopting a one day at a time approach to recovery can make this process a lot easier by helping you regain control of your life. You can control how you feel right now. And when you feel empowered, you’re much more likely to make healthier, productive decisions.

Like most of the practices and mantras you learn in NA and AA, the one day at a time and just for today paths to righteous living really are just like New Year’s Day. They truly do offer new opportunities. Each day is a new beginning. Each day is another chance to get it right.

An Attitude of Gratitude Goes a Long Way

If you’re happy and you know it, tell your face. If you’re grateful for another chance at life, tell your heart. Whatever kind of emotions you feel, you carry them around with you.No matter how you may try to hide them or keep them inside, know that they show. They show in your facial expressions, your words, your actions and your attitude.
Get a grip on your attitude whether you’re new to recovery or you’ve been at the process for years. At Willow Recovery House, your roommates pick up on your attitude whether you voice it or not. And in the world, your attitude affects everything you touch and everything you try to do. A bad attitude turns people off —including potential employers and friends. An attitude of gratitude is an attractive attribute, one that people want to be around.


Think and Grow Rich

Prophets and inspirational leaders, as well as your brothers in recovery, talk about the value of thinking right thoughts. While some proclaim that 12-step programs are brainwashing, others announce that their brains needed washing. As you think, so goes your day.
Think too much about your past, all that you lost and how much you’d like to be able to get high again, and you can bet that you’ll probably relapse. Instead, think about all the gifts you’ve been given:

• A great place to live with other guys in recovery
• A new lease on life
• Time to get yourself together
• Peace of mind
• A new career
• College, friends, hobbies, respect…

Make your own list of things that you’re grateful for. Read it when you feel lost or down or stuck in the pits of self-pity. An updated list helps you maintain an attitude of gratitude that leads to a warm inner glow and better decisions.

Attitudes Are Contagious

Ever spend time with someone who was really angry and let you know about it? You probably have. After a while, didn’t you feel yourself getting on edge? Been around someone who was paranoid that he was being watched and was going to get caught very soon? Start looking over your shoulder yourself?
Attitudes are contagious. Like an airborne germ, a negative attitude can jump on youin a heartbeat and head you down that rabbit hole with little more than a nudge.
Now think about a time you spent with someone who was genuinely happy to be alive and wanted to skip or sing as he washed his car or did the dishes. You probably couldn’t help but chuckle, right? Remember the girl in class who always had a smile for you? Made you feel good, didn’t it? That’s the difference an attitude of gratitude can make.
Attitudes are contagious. Like a ray of sunshine, a positive attitude can cover you with light and warmth, urging you to step up your game to be the winner you know you can be.

Be the Light

In recovery, with the solid support of your mates at Willow House, you have the opportunity to share your light with others. You can be the guide; you can bring light into dark rooms; you can walk in prosperity. With an attitude of gratitude, you don’t even have to try — it comes naturally from the inside out.