Alternative Addiction Treatment

Outside-the-Box Approaches to Overcoming Addiction

by Kimberly Hayes

The 12-Step program is what comes to mind when you hear someone talk about recovery from alcohol and drug abuse. However, there are many treatment methods out there that offer personal empowerment beyond breaking bad habits. Here are a few alternative therapies that can be pursued on their own or in conjunction with more traditional methods. Some may seem strange but all have gained popularity in recent years thanks to their effectiveness.


A combination of postures, breath control, and meditation, this ancient Indian art teaches practitioners to cope with the triggers that lead to relapse, according to Yoga Journal, and helps generate an empowering change of consciousness that works holistically through the mind and body. The strenuous nature of some forms of yoga make them dangerous for the elderly and those suffering from physical ailments that can result from long-term substance abuse, so you should talk to a physician before embarking on this course of treatment.


Patients express themselves through exercises that include “incident drawings” of events they lived through during their addiction and “stress painting” when they’re experiencing anxiety. In the short term, this enhances their ability to communicate and convey their emotions to therapists and loved ones while providing a sense of accomplishment. Therapists cited by Science Direct said that over the long term, it results in profound “inner change” by promoting personal exploration, psychological growth, and well-being. Overwhelming emotions are a risk, however, and those for whom art is a trigger are recommended to give this method a pass.


This involves writing, directing, and acting out stories based on real life, fantasy, or myth and includes extensive improvisation, allowing participants to tap into their emotions and release pent-up anger and fear. Therapists have recording stunning results, saying it provides a powerful means of communication while helping to forge new relationships between participants as they gain control over inner conflicts. Workshops, often based around spontaneous action, can result in transgressive behavior that some find offensive, so caution is advised, and an open mind is a must.


According to one survey, almost 70 percent of respondents said that animals were an important source of support during their recovery from addiction. Part of the reason is the unconditional love that pets provide, free of any judgment or stigma, and that’s crucial for patients who are struggling with how others think of them as they re-enter society. Spending time with dogs, cats, and horses also reduces stress and lowers blood pressure while giving patients a new source of confidence as they change into the role of caregivers. Of course, a fear of animals would make this treatment inappropriate, and allergies should be considered as well.


Mountain climbing, trekking in the forest, or rafting down a river builds self-esteem by teaching new skills and teamwork. Other benefits of outdoor therapy include the restorative powers of fresh air and sunshine, which have a powerful impact on wellness in today’s world where people spend hours each day sitting in front of a screen. It’s not for the faint of heart, however. The physical risks are real, and patients are advised to see a doctor beforehand and prepare mentally for the adventure ahead.


You can get many of the same benefits closer to home through a good workout. Besides burning calories and improving your physical health, exercise revamps your brain chemistry through the production of dopamine, a “feel good” chemical that gives you the same high as drugs and alcohol, except in moderation through physical effort and accomplishment. Whether running, cycling, or swimming, remember to recharge with a balanced diet, which provides a whole host of benefits from repairing damaged tissue to boosting your mood.

The results of these methods are short-lived if patients don’t apply what they’ve learned to their everyday life and replace bad habits with healthy new routines. Continued momentum in addiction recovery is key to staying healthy and happy.

How to Contact Passages Addiction Treatment Centers:

Call Passages Addiction Treatment Centers today if you or a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Our admissions department is available 24/7 and can be reached directly by calling our toll-free number at (888) 397-0112. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

Passages, Where Addiction Ends and Life Begins™

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Kimberly Hayes enjoys writing about health and wellness and created 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.

Image via Pexels

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