If you, or a loved one has ever battled an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you are undoubtedly a very brave person who can achieve any future goals you may set.  You are certainly not alone in your struggle; drug and alcohol abuse is on the rise in America, with around 23.5 million people affected by this problem. Yet only 11 percent of people obtain the help they need.  If you are one of those who have taken a positive step towards a healthy and fulfilling life, then congratulations are in order. However, rehabilitation and therapy are only the first step in path that will involve many changes.

Weight Gain During Addiction Recovery
One of the most immediate changes you may notice is weight gain; specific drugs can alter your metabolism, so much so that once you stop using, you can suddenly find that you begin to pack on unwanted pounds. The same can be said if you have previously relied mainly on alcohol and are now beginning to eat healthily again.

Personal and Social Changes
Changes also occur on the personal level; you may find that you are starting from square one with old friends, or having to make new friends who lead a drug-free lifestyle. True recovery can only happen when we make amends with those we have hurt, gaining their trust back and hoping they will support us during the long journey that is recovery.

Recovery and The Daniel Plan
The Daniel Plan can help those in recovery, in many ways. First of all, the plan encourages you to work towards your weight loss goals alongside family and/or friends – anyone who is ready to be a positive force and to work alongside you to achieve their own goals. Secondly, The Daniel Plan takes a common-sense approach to weight loss, encouraging you to stock up on superfoods and brain foods, and focusing on the consumption of nutritious, seasonal foods instead of pre-packaged, refined foods which are high in unhealthy fats, salt, and sugar.

In case you weren’t aware, sugar can be highly addictive. Type II diabetes and heart disease are just two illnesses caused by high-sugar diets, which cause obesity and inflammation, and are linked to kidney disease and metabolic syndrome (a cluster of conditions which includes high blood sugar levels, high blood pressure, excess weight fat and high cholesterol).

The Daniel Plan and Realistic Goal Setting
The Daniel Plan does not demand that you starve, or obsessively count calories or carbohydrates. Rather, the secret of success is simple: your daily food intake should comprise 50 percent non-starchy vegetables (including artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage and eggplant), 25 percent healthy animal or vegetable proteins, 25 percent healthy starches or whole grains, a side of low-glycemic fruit, and drinks (including water and herbal teas). By avoiding high-sugar foods, you stop insulin levels from spiking, and therefore feel more energetic throughout the day. For maximum nutritional benefits, try to buy organic when possible.

Faith in God
The Daniel Plan also recognizes the important role that faith plays in health and weight loss; faith gives you solid ground to stand on when you are most tempted to indulge in drugs or alcohol. The first step towards recovery must be the realization that you, too, are worthy of God’s forgiveness. One of the core components of recovery programs such as Celebrate Recovery is accepting that when we are addicted to drugs or alcohol, we are unable to control our cravings. God is all-powerful, however, and as soon as we accept that we are worthy of His love and forgiveness, we can take the most important step towards recovery: self-forgiveness.

Community Support
Finally, since The Daniel Plan emphasizes the importance of community and support in weight loss, it very much echoes the aims of modern therapy: to enable the person in recovery to find meaningful connections that satisfy the heart and soul, so that drugs are no longer a means of escape. Sometimes, it is loneliness, shyness, or a sense of being misunderstood, that lead to drug use in the first place. By creating a healthy network comprising friends and family who rely on their faith to get them through the roughest patches in life, we understand that we, too, have a powerful ally on our side – the amazing grace of God.