Healing from addiction includes learning to live in your body again. The excessive or prolonged use of drugs or alcohol can cause you to become disconnected from your body. You become less aware of basic needs such as hunger or sleep, and you can lose touch with your senses and be less likely to notice things in your environment through touch, taste, sight, smell, or sound.
A Stranger in Your Own Body
The very nature of addiction creates a disconnect of the mind from the body. The brain becomes focused on the reward pathway, creating powerful cravings for substances. Both the cravings and the pursuit of substances become the primary focus of the brain, and much of the information the body sends to the brain is effectively ignored, such as hunger or fatigue.
The input from your environment involving the five basic sensory functions is also ignored, decreasing your awareness of pain, pleasure, as well as other sensations. Even important information alerting your brain to sickness or injury may be ignored during addiction, leading to health problems that should be treated but go unnoticed. In many ways, you become a stranger in your own body.
Making the Conscious Effort to Feel Again
In order to reconnect with your body, you must make a conscious effort to feel once again. While it may seem almost childish, you almost have to re-learn to use your five senses again – how to notice what things taste like, pay attention to smells, sounds, and sights, or consciously note how different things feel to the touch. You can learn how to experience sensations like pleasure, pain, warmth, softness, pressure, tickles, and more as you remember how it feels to be in your body again and feel.
In particular, you may notice that when there is more stress, a craving, or a trigger, the body “checks out,” and you revert to your mind again. This is when it is particularly important to find ways to be mindful of your surroundings, notice what your body is feeling, and listen to what your body needs. During these moments, you may find it helpful to use techniques to stay grounded and in your body.
Using Grounding Techniques for Sensory Awareness
When you feel detached or disconnected from your body, there are many techniques you can use to help you reconnect and become grounded again. Some of these grounding techniques are:
- The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Exercise – notice and experience things around you using your five senses:
- Name five things you can see
- Name four things you can feel
- Name three things you can hear
- Name two things you can smell
- Name one thing you can taste
- Coldwater – use cold water or ice to quickly change the temperature on your face or hands and help you notice the sensations, bringing you back to your body.
- Essential oils – use essential oils to invoke your sense of smell to quickly make you aware of your body again.
- Breathing exercises – find a breathing exercise that helps you notice your breathing and brings awareness back to your body.
How Yoga Can Help You Become Reconnected
Using yoga to reconnect is an ideal technique, as it helps to reconnect your mind, body, and spirit. The breathing exercises and stretches help you to notice and feel your body. Stress relief and removing tension are added benefits that help your body heal and allow you to become more aware and reconnect with your mind and body.
Yoga helps you connect as a whole person. The physical activity of yoga helps you to be mentally and physically grounded while the energy flows and circulates through your mind and body, helping you to connect again mentally and spiritually as well. By focusing on your breathing and your body, you also have the opportunity to clear your mind and become more spiritually aware.
Honoring Your Body in Recovery
Learning to listen to your body again in recovery helps you to honor yourself and your healing process. You can learn to take care of your body’s basic needs again by eating three times per day plus snacks, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising regularly. You can also schedule regular doctor appointments and listen to your body concerning your physical health. Checkups and following your doctor’s advice are even more important in recovery than before to help diminish or heal from long-term side effects of substance use. Taking time to acknowledge and utilize your five senses every day throughout the day is just another way to honor your body.
You do not need to be a stranger in your own body. You can learn to live in your body again by finding what works for you. By making a conscious effort to be more aware of your body, you expedite the healing process. Creating good physical daily habits helps you to honor your body in recovery. The Ho Tai Way – Recovery For Women focuses on reconnecting with your body with your mind. Our treatment facility for women with addiction and co-occurring mental health diagnoses is a sanctuary for your healing. We understand that women have specific needs in treatment and focus on women empowering women. We create an individualized plan for you to help you to find yourself again. Our Costa Mesa, California facility can help you heal from your addiction. Call us today at (714) 581-3974 to learn to live in your body again.