R.O.A.M.I.N.G. IN RECOVERY FROM ADDICTION TO A WELLNESS RECOVERY APPROACH – WENDY BLANCHARD, M.S., CHHC

Recently I had the opportunity to speak and present my story of my journey of my “Wellness Recovery Approach” to prescription drug addiction at the very Recovery Center where I began my journey of my own recovery.

As I offered my personal and successful steps of my “Wellness Approach to Recovery,” over the past 2 1/2 years, I felt a great sense of pride and accomplishment. I spoke in front of the traditional medical community comprised of doctors, nurses, substance abuse counselors, and other healthcare professionals.

I spoke of the alternative modalities which are natural and organic in nature which is how I recovered from my 40 year addiction to opiates and benzodiazepines, and how I continue to sustain my recovery. After I introduced my “R.O.A.M.I.N.G. in Recovery” profile that I created as the 7 steps that I used to recover, and then shared that I am now a Certified Holistic Health Coach/Practitioner, the audience applauded for my hard work and achievements in surviving this disease, and learning new ways of managing some underlying symptoms of this disease such as anxiety.

Although many in the audience were interested in hearing about my alternative approach to recovery, my take away, sadly, is that due to the fact that Holistic Health Practitioners are not covered by insurance, my program doesn’t fit into the financial profile of those in addiction recovery. Many folks are Medicaid patients, and are unable to afford to pay for Holistic Health Coaching. In addition, as I talk to folks in recovery, they too, are disappointed that they are unable to follow my program due to financial constraints or hardship.

I had a conversation yesterday with a dear friend who needs to get a loved one into a recovery facility, however, this young man doesn’t have insurance. She, like so many of us, are frustrated and asking, “Where do those who are suffering with this brain disease turn for healthcare and guidance when they cannot afford insurance, and certainly cannot afford to pay for any program out of pocket?” This is one of the many challenges in treating this disease in this country. How can we help those suffering with addiction and help to rehabilitate them without financial assistance from our government?

Another challenge that faces those suffering with this disease, and those of us who are advocating for their recovery, is that recovery centers are only equipped with so many beds to accommodate potential patients, and furthermore, there are criteria that the patient must meet when they arrive. These criteria are imposed by OASES (Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services) who oversees the Recovery facilities. I remember speaking to a young woman who went to the local emergency room asking for help, and because she wasn’t presenting with acute signs of withdrawal, in other words, she wasn’t “sick enough,” they couldn’t admit her to the Recovery Center on site. They actually suggested that she leave, go out and use drugs and/or alcohol, and return when she was in active withdrawal. What kind of world are we living in that we send out a patient suffering with addiction to use the very thing that is making them sick, or killing them? Would we tell a Cancer patient to go out and smoke cigarettes, and when they are “sick enough” to come back and we will offer them healthcare? Addiction IS a brain disease, and we must educate and empower the healthcare community, and the leaders of this country to recognize that this is NOT a choice, but a disease that needs to be treated, a human being that needs ongoing managed care, and that these people are deserving of the loving care that any patient with any other disease is entitled to receive.

I am so frustrated with our government. There is money for all sorts of research and foundations supporting so many causes, yet when it comes to treating a population that is in dire need of treatment for a disease that is now an epidemic, there are roadblocks everywhere. How can we heal? How can we move forward in this fight against addiction without ongoing financial support for those suffering, and in addition, to provide ongoing support for their families who also suffer? How can we continue researching this complex disease that presents with co-occurring disorders such as mental illness, eating disorders, and other serious addictions without financial support?

There is so much work to be done, and although we are beginning to find people, like myself, who are willing to have an open, ongoing dialogue about addiction, we need the leaders of our country to listen, to help us to formulate a plan, and to continually assess every aspect of addiction ongoing from our DNA, environmental factors including the food that we eat, and learned behaviors that we can definitely change to new and healthy behaviors with the proper care and guidance. This mindset will give each individual who has this disease a chance to start over, and to create and enjoy a lifelong, successful recovery.

I was so fortunate to have this type of support, love and guidance from a team of Holistic professionals, and this is now my passion, and my career, and my “Wellness Approach to Recovery” using my R.O.A.M.I.N.G. in Recovery model is one that I want to offer and share as an alternative to the traditional 12-step recovery programs, and the traditional recovery center programs that offer medications to manage symptoms in recovery.

I am a survivor of this disease. I have recovered through a holistic path where I implemented using new and sustainable alternative modalities such as use of essential oils for anxiety, focus, and physical pain, to stress management, organic nutrition, and natural detoxing using whole foods, whole food and plant based supplements, detox baths using a combination of epson salt, baking soda, apple cider vinegar and my favorite essential oils, and Apple Cider vinegar as an internal and external health tonic, practicing spirituality and gratitude, daily exercise, surrounding myself with like minded people and enjoying healthy, loving, nurturing relationships, being of service to others, and of course a passion for my new career, where I offer a blueprint to follow a “Wellness Approach to Recovery!”

We are an addicted nation whether it is to the foods that we eat that are filled with sugar and high fructose corn syrup, gluten, dairy, and the grains that are grossly processed making it impossible for human beings to digest, causing an incredible amount of systemic inflammation with pathways leading directly to the brain, and also negatively affecting our immune system, and actually compromising it, which affects every fiber of our being from being in optimal health.

We must transform this nation’s health offering nutritional support for the body, mind and soul, and we must start with continued research, funding, and offering organic foods and alternative treatments as medicine rather than pills, and offer sustainable positive changes to our lifestyle, one that boasts “I can and do recover,” not one that has us say aloud daily, “I am an addict.”  We can create a new and healthy body, and mind, which is great food for the soul. “Let thy food be thy medicine.”

I will be appearing on a television show called Viewpoint, on COMCAST, where I will talk about my “Wellness Approach to Recovery.” It is being taped on Nov. 3, 2015, and I will keep you posted as to the air date.

R- Reflection, O- Own It, A- Ask for Help, M- Moving on and Manifesting, I- Ignite your Enthusiasm, N- Nutritional support for the body, mind, and soul, G- Growing and Embracing Change, is the outline for my Recovery Model. Stay in touch for more information.

If you have any comments, questions, ideas, or would like to share your story of recovery through a holistic approach, please contact me at therxdiaries@gmail.com.

Wishing you Harmonious Health 4 Life!

Blessings,

Wendy

 

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