Addiction Neuroscience: Feed Your Brain

The years 1990 to 2000 have been dubbed, “The Decade of the Brain.” Addiction neuroscience, its scientists and researchers learned more about the brain in those years than all of the combined years before them.

The applied brain science and ongoing research tells us that the brain keeps learning and changing directly proportional to being “fed” its three essential nutrients of oxygen, fuel (good nutrition) and motion, (healthy, regular movement/exercise of the extension of the brain; the body).

Well, like fish swimming through water, we’re bathing in oxygen and clean, fresh air is a no-brainer. So how do you know what “good nutrition” and the right kind of exercise means? Here’s a good place to start: Recovery Health Care.

Yeah, all of this is killer good news for a person in addiction recovery because the “target organ” of the disorder and disease of addiction is the brain. The brain has the capacity to actually physically change its architecture or “neural nets” which allows recovering people to design new perceptions and wellbeing practices over time delivering a whole new way of life–spectacular good news for the recovering community.

So here’s how it worked/works for me in long term addiction recovery. Through one day at a time and years of practice I have changed the way my mind and body work. I don’t seriously consider using drugs and behaviors that nearly killed me because I have found new practices and behaviors that trump the payoff of the old ways beyond measure. You know the old platitude: Replace a bad habit with a healthier habit. True that.

Now here’s the interesting bit; I still have the old tracks in my mind and when they come up for whatever subtle, triggered reason, I observe them much like being in meditation and think, “Huh, look at that. Isn’t that an interesting way I used to see and behave in the world.”

The triggered thoughts are like an archaic subroutine in a GPS that has been upgraded–they’re still there and only useful for one thing: What not to do now. It nearly brings tears to my eyes to know that the Power that created this whole experience provides for these checks and balances as It reminds me, I am programmed for health, not sickness.

One caveat: If I discontinue the newer, albeit habituated healthy habits, the old subroutines resurface and are offered up for choice again. We see it all the time with folks in long term recovery who stop feeding their brains optimal levels of oxygen, fuel and motion. What happened!? We know what happened. Get your practices back.

If we don’t get away from the basics, we don’t have to get back to the basics.

There’s a cultural myth that people with addiction issues have to “struggle and wrestle” with their issues for a lifetime. Not true in my experience–at all. The answer for me has been to upgrade my lifestyle and in the lexicon of one kick-ass spiritual program, “to practice these principles in all of my affairs” including a principled and superb mind-body-spirit fitness program.

One definition for a miracle is: A new perception.

I’ve beaten the odds today for the potentially and often fatal disease of addiction because I’m up for practicing my newer, life saving and life optimizing behaviors–today.

What a miraculous way to be.

Dr. Herby Bell is a Recovery and Wellness Coach and owner of Recovery Health Care, an integrated approach to wellness and addiction recovery in Saratoga, California. For more information please call 650 474 9411 or Email: herbybell@me.com.  Connect with me online too:  Facebook | Twitter | Linkedin

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