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Natural Awakenings Fairfield County & Housatonic Valley CT

Healthy and Empowered Recovery: Holistic Approaches for Individual Paths

Jun 05, 2018 02:40AM ● By Joy Herbst

Many women are seeking paths to holistic health and sobriety. Every person needs to find their own unique mix when creating any wellness plan, whether that is seeking and maintaining sobriety, weight loss, or implementing elemental self-care practices of exercise and meditation. To achieve the desired success, we must utilize channels that draw from a wholistic perspective. There are many sources of inspiration and wellness advice, which is hugely beneficial because what one woman seeks and finds useful may not be for the woman standing next to her.

Many people begin their recovery journey with the well-known and classic Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), but searches on Google reveal newer groups such as Women for Sobriety and Yoga of Recovery, offering different options and approaches to holistic recovery. 

Ayurveda teaches us that individuation is a necessary strength, while functional nutrition and integrative medicine school us in how to further support ourselves through nutrition and stress reduction and mindfulness techniques. It’s true, the toolbox is overflowing with the many supportive measures that can be used. For many, these include diet, meditation, replenishing supplements, amino acids and herbs, spiritual practices, yoga/asana, mindful movement and dance, and time spent honoring nature. 

Although any individual’s rituals and regularity may not be “perfect”, what matters is an individual’s devotion to the practices that hold true health on the rainbow spectrum of vitality. Here are some suggestions for those seeking supports on their recovery path.   

Sangha – This Sanskrit word means a devoted community of like-minded seekers. Whether it is a 12-Step or Women for Sobriety meeting, your meditation club, a hiking group, or your Moon Circle sisters, these all serve us, as we serve the group. We may find companionship, personal meaning, empathy, strength and support in these groups. This has never been more critical, as we live in a time where we all too often hide behind devices or desks for fear of judgment and self-comparison. Find your tribe and let your innate beauty shine.

Sadhana – Here’s another Sanskrit term for you. Yogi Bhajan says, “Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best.” In other words, it is your daily spiritual practice. Obviously, this does not provide a specific outline for practice, but instead resonates with the idea of forming your own unique rainbow of meaning. For example, you may find great spiritual significance through your yoga and meditation practice, religious observances, pranayama, journaling, and/or prayer, or something else entirely.

Sustenance – The best, whole foods are a variety that are
rich in nourishing proteins, fats and nutrients, and minimally processed and sustainably sourced. Keep it simple, feed yourself in the manner that your divine being requests. 

Sun – Get some sun, fresh air and lots of forest bathing. Studies show that just 90 minutes spent walking in nature decreases rumination, a recurrent factor known in depression. Another study concluded that, “forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city environments.”

Supplement – When needed. Supplementation may not be needed as a general rule of thumb, but it is a fact that many foods grown today provide drastically less calcium, iron, and Vitamins A and C than they did 50 years ago due to modern industrial farming practices. We are subjected daily to many toxins that our bodies struggle to contend with and remove. While we may do the best we can to reduce our toxic loads through living more mindfully, it is likely we can all benefit from supplements that help boost immunity and offset inflammation. These include such things as omega 3s, a broad spectrum probiotic featuring 20 million of more CFU, and a great daily multivitamin. It’s amazing what this power trio can do for those who struggle with depression, anxiety, pain and more. 

Joy Herbst RN, MSN, APRN is a holistic nurse practitioner, empowered recovery guide, dancer, Ayurveda counselor and mother of 2 young boys. She works privately with those who struggle with depression, anxiety and substance use disorder, providing integrative mental health care and recovery support. Joy also offers weekly Yoga of Recovery classes and Women for Sobriety meetings. She celebrates a grateful life of empowered sobriety since 2013. Connect at


Support for those with addictions:

A Buddhist Path to Recovering from Addiction: Refuge Recovery: RefugeRecovery.orgLocal meetings take place in Fairfield, Monroe, Redding and Westport

Support for the families/friends of those with alcohol addiction: AL-ANON Family Groups:

Support for the families/friends of those with narcotics addictions, including groups for teens in home affected by drug addiction: 

Womens Behavioral Health:

Women for Sobriety:

Yogic retreats, workshops and trainings supporting those in recovery: Yoga of Recovery:


Clearpoint Recovery • Westport • 203-293-1723 •

Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR)
Hartford • 866-205-9770 •

CCAR has three Recovery Community Centers (RCCs) located in Connecticut: Hartford, Bridgeport and Windham. Each RCC offers a variety of recovery support services: All-Recovery Meetings (ARM); Recovery Training Series; Family Support Groups; Recovery Coaching; Recovery Social Events; Telephone Recovery Support.

The Bridgeport RCC • 9 Cannon St, Courtyard Rear Bridgeport • 203-332-3303

CT Al-Anon/Alateen

CT Wellness • Sandy Hook • 203-270-9888 •

Insight Counseling, LLC • Ridgefield • 203-431-9726 •

The Recovery Village • Fairfield • 888-262-9745 •

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