Sarah performing Reiki at a health fair in Flint. Sarah is a reiki master and a person in long-term recovery.
By Sarah Shaw
The traditional western medicine that we are all accustomed to has become integral to our daily lives and our own community and has helped many individuals with countless health issues, and continues to do so. However, a great deal of individuals–myself included– feel that there are essential aspects missing when it comes to the health and wellness of addiction recovery patients today, and that is where holistic alternatives come in. With the ever growing opioid crisis and the rate of individual substance use skyrocketing across the country, many individuals are starting to see the value in a holistic approach to addiction recovery.
My journey onto holistic alternatives for recovery began after my 5th year of sobriety through an outpatient addiction recovery center that focused primarily on patients with opioid dependency. A patient here could receive replacement medication therapy, counseling, and group sessions, and while these can be very helpful and beneficial to an individual’s recovery, the treatment itself is limited. This realization is what led me to look outside of contemporary methods for addiction recovery, methods that aid in the health and wellness of the mind, body and spirit. My search to feel better and to aid my recovery efforts led me to reiki (a form of energy medicine and healing that promotes self-healing within the patient’s body). These treatments were beneficial to me and I saw a shift in my health, my emotions and my mental clarity, which dramatically helped my recovery efforts. After the success that I found with Reiki, I decided to look into several other holistic alternatives that would aid in my health and recovery such as Meditation, Massage, Auricular Acupuncture, Yoga, Aromatherapy, Art Therapy, Sound Therapy and plant-based nutrition, just to mention a few.
What I found after incorporating many of these alternative practices into my life was a decrease in stress, a decrease in emotional trauma, an increase in energy and productivity, better sleep pattern, and so much more. By slowly incorporating these alternative methods into my daily routine, while still utilizing my previously learned addiction recovery skills, I managed to transform my life by healing the mind, body and spirit, all of which gave me the necessary tools to promote and continue my own health, wellness and recovery efforts in a very manageable and independent way that I had not realized possible. These alternatives are not meant to replace traditional treatment methods, they are meant to work with them in order to give each individual the best possible chance at a positive outcome. Holistic alternatives for recovery are here to bridge the gap between traditional recovery treatment and what many in this community feel is lacking.
For this reason, I now work primarily in holistic recovery with The Serenity House of Flint, which is a holistic recovery community that advocates on the current addiction crisis and educates on holistic alternatives for addiction recovery. The Serenity House of Flint is changing the landscape of addiction recovery and our community as a whole by providing education, resources and all of the services discussed and countless others to the people of this community who may never have had the opportunity otherwise.
It is my hope to pass on the knowledge of the countless benefits of holistic alternatives in regards to addiction recovery and overall health and wellness because they make a great difference in an individual’s life and addiction recovery efforts.