Detoxing Your Body After Addiction
March 9th, 2015 | By Jason Brooks
Recognized as one of the most prominent emerging voices in personal and organizational transformation, Dr. Jason Brooks is also likely to be one of the most authentic, transparent and “real”. Viewed by many as the “youth pastor of personal growth and success”, his life mission of “bringing hope, healing, and inspiration to everyone he meets and leading on the journey for change, growth, and success” provides the foundation and focus where his purpose and passion are fully unleashed.
As a bestselling author, inspirational speaker, and Chief People Officer of Addiction Campuses, Dr. Jason brings a heart for helping others to achieve their greatest potential and success…one step at a time.
Hear more from Dr. Jason in this video: Detox It.
Detoxing the Body
Over the years I’ve had a lot of clients who made a lasting impact on my life. Few, however, are so impressed in my mind as “Lisa.” Lisa was 43 years old, the mother of two beautiful girls and had been married for 15 years to her college sweetheart who was a successful financial service vice-president. By all accounts, although they had gone through some tough times, they had created a great life together. But, Lisa was struggling and didn’t know where to turn.
Two years ago Lisa had finally broken the chains of an alcohol addiction that had plagued her since college. Through the support and accountability of her family, and the intervention of caring professionals, she finally found freedom. But what was supposed to be a time of celebration soon turned into another battle for Lisa. Similar to what all too often happens for others who finally beat an alcohol or drug addiction, Lisa’s addiction turned to another form…food.
I started our first session by asking what led to her coming to see me.
“Shortly after I got sober almost two years ago, I got this overwhelming feeling that something was missing from my life. I knew I couldn’t go back to alcohol, so I turned to food. It was my release…it was my pleasure. When I was alone and thought about taking a drink, I reached for food instead. I would cook great, healthy meals for the family, but when I was alone, I would stuff myself on junk food. At first it didn’t seem to be a problem, but then I started gaining weight. With the weight came constant feelings of guilt. I used to get lots of exercise and went to the gym five times a week. But, now all I wanted to do was hide. So, I stopped working out and with the growing depression, I ate even more and I gained more weight. It was a downward spiral and an insidious trap.”
“What did your family say?” I asked.
“For a while they didn’t notice,” Lisa said. I was cooking great, healthy meals for everyone and I had typically exercised during the day, so no one really knew that I wasn’t exercising anymore and things were getting out of control. We were getting close to fall and winter, so I was able to go shopping for layers clothes that covered up the weight I was gaining. To hide my new addiction, I even resorted to stashing food in my closet, in my dresser, in the laundry room…anywhere I could hide it around the house so no one would see what I was doing. I thought it was hidden…but really, who was I kidding, right? Over the winter, I gained almost 40 pounds.”
“So, what happened to bring you here today?”
“I can’t do this anymore. I can’t stand the lies, the stares, and the message I’m sending to my girls. I don’t want to be intimate with my husband anymore because I just imagine what he’s thinking…and it’s putting a real strain on our relationship. This is not how it’s supposed to be.” Lisa put her head in her hands. Her guilt and shame poured out through her tears.
“I can feel your hurt and pain, Lisa,” I said. “What you’re going through is experienced often by folks who have beat one addiction and not created all the support systems needed to fight off the attacks in other areas of life. Ultimately, you to detox your body. When I work with clients like you who have turned to food as a way to cope with the loss of the alcohol, I like to take a three-prong approach to reset their lives. It’s going to take time, but if you’re focused and disciplined in each of these areas, you can regain your physical health. Who you are now is a mask and we need to work together to remove the mask of yourself you’ve created with food. How does that sound?”
“That’s exactly how I feel, but I don’t know where to start.”
“There are three areas we’re going to address to start,” I said. “You probably already know what they are, but you’ve lost focus on how to take responsibility for each of them and intentionally make decisions that are healthy for you. But before we begin, it’s critical that you come clean with your family and open up all the lies that you’ve been carrying with you. You’ll need their help, support, and accountability. We can schedule that for our next session to have your husband come too and we’ll lay everything out. In addition, you and I will start a path to detox your body and create the ongoing disciplines for a healthy life.”
“First, we’re going to detox your house of the unhealthy food and create plans for healthier eating choices. We’re going to connect you with a dietician who can responsibly help you create a plan and help you to learn again healthy eating and dietary habits. It’s not enough to say ‘I’m going to stop eating the junk food’, because it’s now become part of your life and habits. We need to replace those unhealthy choices with healthy ones as we transition to a new way of life.”
“Second, we’re going to get you back in the gym and on an exercise plan. It’s important to have all aspects of exercise included…resistance training, aerobic exercise, and flexibility training should all be part of your plan. I’m going to connect you with a personal trainer who can help create a balanced plan to get you started and help you create the disciplines to stay on track.”
“Finally, and this is something that many people overlook, we’re going to help you create time to rest and refresh. When you’re tired, it’s easy to resort to the unhealthy behaviors that got you to this place. So, we’re going to work together to establishing some healthy boundaries for yourself to ensure you’re getting the appropriate amount of rest.”
Lisa looked a little overwhelmed. “Sounds like a lot.”
“It is a lot,” I said. “But we’re going to take one step at a time and create a support system to help you stay on track with your reset. A body detox doesn’t happen overnight. But you can absolutely start today making choices for yourself that will help you regain your physical wellness and overcome the addictive behaviors you’ve embraced over the last couple of years.”
“I know it will be hard work,” Lisa said. “But I don’t want the shame and guilt anymore and want to be the best that I can be for my girls and husband. The last thing I want is for this to continue and not be able to be there for my daughters as a grandmother or be able to have a quality of life when we reach retirement. I know I’m trapped and I’ll need to make some radical changes to break free. I think I’m finally ready to be honest with myself, my family, and make a change.”
“Wonderful, Lisa. Change is often hard, but it will be so worth it. I’m excited to start this life transforming journey with you.”
For more from Dr. Jason, check out this video: Detoxing Your Life.
Dr. Jason is an expert in leading life change. As a gifted speaker and life success coach, he is available to speak at your next conference event and would love to connect with you on social media on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Dr. Jason can be contacted through the public relations team at Addiction Campuses.