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Home Blog Holistic approaches to recovering from alcohol

Holistic approaches to recovering from alcohol

Posted by Alex Molyneux
on 30 Aug 2023

What’s included?

  1. Introduction
  2. What is holistic health?
  3. What are the holistic approaches to alcohol rehab?
  4. Is holistic therapy for alcohol rehab better than AA?
  5. How can holistic alcohol rehab heal mind, body and spirit?
  6. How can Delamere help with holistic alcohol rehab?

There’s much more to holistic health than meditation and yoga. Consumers are seeking more holistic wellness products and services than ever before. Complementary and alternative therapy is used by almost 40% of adults in the US (1) with the global market set to grow to over $400 billion by 2030 (2).

Even the working environment is now more geared towards overall health and well-being with many companies offering staff incentives to promote healthier lifestyles. But what does this mean for alcohol addiction treatment? As a residential wellness retreat with holistic health at its core, Delamere discusses the different types of holistic approaches to alcohol rehab and why their unique programmes achieve lasting sobriety for their guests. 

Get support for alcohol addiction. Speak to Delamere

What is holistic health?

It might sound like a new age concept, but the principles of holistic health were founded over 5,000 years ago. Rooted in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, the term infiltrated the Western world in the 1960s when people started to step away from the idea that conditions could be treated with drugs alone.  

Derived from the Greek word ‘holos’, holistic health means treating the whole person – physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally. It often combines many different traditional medicinal practices with complementary or alternative therapies, mixing disciplines from both Eastern and Western culture. 

By working with the philosophy that all aspects of a person’s life can affect their well-being, practitioners don’t just focus on treating your symptoms. They will find out what other factors, from your job to your environment, could be contributing to your health problems and try to achieve balance. 

What are the holistic approaches to alcohol rehab?

While traditional alcohol rehab focuses on group therapy and self-help, holistic approaches to alcohol rehab work on the connection between mind, body and spirit. Think of it like the butterfly effect. When one part of our system is out of balance, it can throw the others into turmoil. Holistic therapy looks at your mental health, social environment and personal goals to provide an individualised treatment plan which can include the following:

  • Mindfulness and meditation to help you understand your emotions and thought processes. 
  • Nutritional education to encourage healthy eating habits and balance your mood and energy levels.
  • Physical activity which is known to release endorphins, helping to reduce anxiety and depression.
  • Yoga and Tai-chi to improve mental focus and help you reconnect with your breathing and body.
  • Art and music therapy to provide a creative release and help you develop coping mechanisms.
  • One-to-one counselling which includes Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) and Motivational Interviewing (MI) among other psychotherapies. 
  • Group therapy to help you develop connections with others who are going through the same challenges and build a good support network.
  • Outdoor activities are encouraged to help you connect with nature which is great for relaxation and stress relief.
  • Family intervention and involvement which can help repair broken relationships and ensure ongoing support for everyone.
  • Continued aftercare which is an essential part of lasting sobriety. This might involve meeting up with peers or revisiting counsellors. 

Using a combined approach of traditional methods alongside complementary and alternative practices ensures all elements of the whole person are addressed. Detoxing the body from alcohol only tackles the physical addiction. Holistic approaches to alcohol rehab help people heal emotionally and mentally through better overall health, improved self-esteem and healthier coping skills. 

Thinking about holistic therapies for alcohol rehab? Speak to Delamere

Is holistic therapy for alcohol rehab better than AA?

There are pros and cons to both approaches to alcohol rehab. It’s important to remember that what’s right for one person may not work for someone else. Alcoholics Anonymous has been around for almost a century and a lot has changed in our attitudes to treating alcohol addiction and also our scientific knowledge around achieving the best outcomes. 

The main difference is that holistic therapy takes a more individualised approach. It focuses on the reasons behind a person’s addiction rather than purely addressing mental and physical symptoms. Taking a holistic approach to alcohol rehab gives the sufferer access to a much wider range of therapeutic methods, such as mindfulness, meditation, nutrition, exercise, art and music. 

Holistic therapy helps to uncover and treat the root cause of addiction offering a better chance of long-term recovery. One study which measured the effectiveness of Integrative Mind Body Spirit (I-BMS) intervention among people with alcohol dependence found that they were less likely to relapse that those being given traditional treatment for alcohol addiction (3).

How can holistic alcohol rehab heal mind, body and spirit?

Alcohol affects all aspects of our being. It’s important to address the impact on mind, body and spirit to have the best chance of recovery from addiction. 

Healing the mind

Alcohol addiction is often associated with anxiety and depression as well as feelings of guilt, shame and low self-esteem. The therapeutic techniques used in holistic rehab can help you to rewire your brain and disrupt negative thought patterns. Somatic therapies, such as mindfulness and mediation can prove to be useful techniques in managing stress and overcoming triggers during recovery. 

Healing the body

Alcohol ravages your body. As well as damaging internal organs such as the brain, nervous system, heart, liver and pancreas, the physical effects can show on your skin, nails, teeth and hair. A big part of rehabilitation is nutritional support and regular activity. Holistic rehab programmes will ensure you’re getting the vitamins and minerals you need from a healthy, balanced diet and incorporate exercise into your daily routine. 

Healing the spirit 

Spiritual health isn’t always about belief in a higher power. It’s about delving into your own belief systems and values to help you find a sense of purpose. This might mean spending more time in nature to feel a deeper connection with your environment or the people around you. Engaging in activities that align to your personal passions, such as art, music and dance can also provide deep fulfilment. 

How can Delamere help with holistic alcohol rehab? 

When it comes to alcohol rehab, one size doesn’t fit all. We know that everyone’s experience of alcohol addiction is different and pride ourselves on offering individualised alcohol rehab programmes for our guests. 

At our purpose-built retreat surrounded by Delamere Forest, we offer an extensive range of holistic therapies to treat alcohol addiction. Following a safe and comfortable clinical detox your focal therapist will develop a tailormade recovery plan based on your personal needs.

Our holistic therapists use evidence-based psychotherapies, such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), to get to the underlying cause of your alcohol addiction and combine this with complementary and alternative therapies to help develop ways to cope. 

Guests can benefit from grounding techniques, breathwork, meditation and mindfulness workshops, art and music therapy, yoga and fire ceremonies, as well as experiential techniques, such as equine therapy. 

We also have an onsite gym with personal trainer and a restaurant offering nutritional, home cooked meals to support your overall physical health. With our combined holistic approach to alcohol rehab, we can nurture your mind, body and spirit back to full health.

If you are concerned about alcohol addiction, call us confidentially to speak to a member of the team today. Contact Delamere     


1. Stubbe DE. Complementary and Alternative Medicine: If You Don’t Ask, They Won’t Tell. Focus (Am Psychiatr Publ). 2018 Jan;16(1):60-62. doi: 10.1176/appi.focus.20170052. Epub 2018 Jan 24. PMID: 31975902; PMCID: PMC6519570. 

2. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Market Poised to Grow at a CAGR of 18% by 2030.

3. Sreevani Rentala, Siu-Man Ng, Cecilia L. W. Chan, Prasanth Bevoor, Raghavendra Bheemappa Nayak & Mahesh Desai (2022) Effect of holistic relapse prevention intervention among individuals with alcohol dependence: a prospective study at a mental health care . 

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About the author: Alex Molyneux

Alex is the Admissions Manager at Delamere. Alex has organised more admissions into treatment than most. Find out more about Alex on our team page.

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