Recovering from drug addiction can be one of the most physically and psychologically taxing experiences of your life. When you’re through the constant cravings, the withdrawals, and the feelings of frailty, you come out on the other side with the chance to begin the work of regaining your physical health.

With the help of a skilled medical team and the support of your friends and family, you can rebuild your body to how it was before the addiction took it away.

Rebuild Yourself Nutritionally

Almost every patient who goes into a drug rehab program is experiencing some kind of nutritional deficiency. This may be the case for you, and your medical team has strongly encouraged you to put on weight.

However, you should keep in mind that being underweight is just one aspect of it. Your body has been malnourished for a significant period of time, possibly even years. Not only were you not taking in essential nutrients in the way of wholesome foods, but things like alcohol and cocaine have been proven to actually rob your body of vitamins. Taking a multivitamin is essential to your physical recovery.

No matter how well you’re eating, you’re ensuring your body is getting everything it needs in that little capsule. According to Ruth Fowler, a recovering addict, you should consult with your doctor and consider having bloodwork drawn to see where your exact deficiencies are. Many addicts are lacking in their B vitamins, so you might need to take an additional supplement to rebuild these stores.

Exercise for Physical and Mental Recovery

A published study in Biological Psychiatry had findings that showed lab rats who exercised regularly had less cravings for cocaine and had less damage to the brain than rats who didn’t exercise.

The Scandinavian Journal of Public Health showed that drug abuse patients who used exercise in conjunction with their other rehab treatment programs showed less drug intake than before they exercised regularly.

According to Beaches Recovery, a drug rehab treatment facility, exercise is an integral part of their treatment plan and they encourage every patient to try at least one type of exercise while they’re in treatment.

Exercise can be especially beneficial if you suffer from depression or low self-esteem. Many recovering addicts have reported relapses when they feel stressed, rejected, or lonely, and having an exercise routine can help combat this with endorphin release.

It can also help you create a new social circle. People who run, bike, or do yoga are typically healthy individuals with little to no use of alcohol or drugs, meaning your new peers aren’t going to subject you to triggering situations.

It’s quite hard to leave rehab and have to rebuild a new social structure around your new lifestyle, but that’s made easier when you have something you enjoy that’s also good for you. Whether you join a running group that meets every week or a biking club that likes to take weekend mountain biking trips, you’re almost guaranteed a ready-made group of sober and healthy friends.

Addiction has taken so much away from you, and as you repair your relationships with family and friends, repair your relationship with your body. You deserve total health as much as anyone, and with a little work, you could come out on the other side even healthier than you used to be.