I won’t lie, I loved getting high.
During the height of my addiction my number one goal was to stay lit around the clock. However, years of addiction took their toll–and like Icarus with his waxed wings I fell to earth. While drug treatment was able to restore my body and mind I was doubtful that I could find natural ways to cop the buzz I felt with drugs and alcohol. Fortunately, I learned there were many natural highs I could incorporate into my daily routine that could keep me feeling fine without regret.
A New Way of Thinking
Believe me, finding new ways to get the high I desired without the aid of chemicals seemed far-fetched. For many years I was accustomed to getting euphoria from drugs and alcohol. Once I made the commitment to getting clean and sober the concept of the natural high was akin to diet soda. While I knew I couldn’t go back to using substances, I just didn’t think it was possible to feel good about life without those familiar crutches.
As my sobriety grew, I listened to my counselors and my recovering peers and I learned ways to dip into the brain’s natural pharmacy and get the buzz I desired without the hangovers and the guilt.
The following are six natural highs that have helped me keep smiling on the inside.
The Best Natural Highs
The most common way to achieve a natural high in recovery is through good ol’ exercise. The benefits of exercise in recovery are enormous. First and foremost, exercise releases endorphins which is your brain’s “feel good chemical.” Exercise helps create a euphoric relaxation response which helps you hit the reset button in your brain. Not only will you look good and feel great, you can bring a friend along for added fun and motivation. Additionally, it is easy to create you own personalized exercise regimen that best fits your personality. Whether it is the extreme rush of Crossfit, banging plates at the gym, biking, or just taking a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood–there is a physical activity that you can find and enjoy.
Step Up Your Diet Game
When finding ways to feel awesome in recovery, the role of one’s diet cannot be overlooked. Creating a well-balanced diet is absolutely essential in maintaining one’s physical and psychological health. When I think about my recovery diet, I need to remember to include plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as plenty of protein. I also have made it a point to significantly reduce or eliminate processed food, sugars and caffeine from my diet. Additionally, I also try to eat several smaller meals spaced throughout the day.
Get to Know Mother Nature
Perhaps there is no natural high as powerful as the one provided by nature. When I hike a forest trail, traverse alongside a raging river or stand on top of a mountain, the majesty and scope of Mother Nature often takes my breath away. Nature is everywhere you turn, and it is easy to take a few moments to soak in its grandeur. Ponder the glory of a sunrise or sunset. Feel the power of a summer breeze. Take in the sights and sounds of a beach on a June afternoon. The euphoria of nature is waiting for everyone.
Immerse Yourself in the Arts
Another excellent way I have found to lose myself in bliss is to engage in the creative arts. I love to bang on a bass guitar, write poetry or in my daily journal, and I also have been known to sketch out some mad doodles. I find that immersing myself in creative pursuits takes my thoughts and feelings to places that I wouldn’t have thought to explore. If you don’t think of yourself as the creative type, there are still plenty of ways to immerse yourself in the natural high of the arts. It can be as simple as creating a playlist of your favorite jams or attending an outdoor music festival. You can also feel the natural high of art by going to a great movie, reading an enthralling novel or even attending a gallery exhibit.
In order to feel the natural buzz of euphoria, our mindset must be positive. In my opinion, practicing gratitude is one of the best natural highs I can experience. Gratitude in recovery is one of the most powerful natural highs because of the expression of thankfulness and appreciation for what sobriety gives me on a daily basis. Even if I am experiencing difficulty, having a sense of gratitude allows me to change the negatives to positives–and I can learn to grow from those obstacles. You may be surprised on how good you truly feel when you say thank you.
Stay In The Here and Now
Do you want to know the secret to getting and staying naturally high? It’s simple really–keep you mind in the present and focus on the here and now. If you think about it, our daily lives throw many curves at us, and we often get pulled in a million different directions. When you are able to stop yourself, wade through the static of distractions and look at this moment right now–the world stops. You see things for what they are and you see people for what they are. Take time to devote your undivided attention to yourself and those you love. When you feel the love come back to you, that is the best high ever.
Follow Your Own Path
This list of ways to get your natural buzz on is by no means an exhaustive list. Take the time and explore what makes you truly happy on the inside. Don’t be afraid to try new things and explore those avenues which are healthy and positive. The way that you will truly grow in recovery is to step outside your comfort zone. Go out there and truly find those natural highs that will keep you healthy.