Can the Experience of Recovery be Measured?
Are you here to add years to your life, or to add life to your years? What is the real goal? Many of our guests try to define and answer this question in their quest for recovery.
Some of our guests choose to come to Hippocrates Health Institute because their doctor told them that the medical field cannot offer them anything more. Some of them received “the verdict” that they may live for six months or one year, if they could make it that far. Obviously then the hope is to add years to their life. Some other guests come to HHI when their doctors tell them there is no known treatment for their conditions, conditions such as chronic fatigue or multiple chemical sensitivity, or rheumatoid arthritis or cancer. In such cases the guests hope to improve the quality of their lives.
In the past, I have heard several guests say that the HHI lifestyle has prolonged their lives. But every week at the graduation ceremony or in casual conversations with guests I hear how the program has improved the quality of their lives. The basic question is: What are people trying to do when they choose to come to Hippocrates Health Institute? Are they trying to prolong their lives or are they trying to improve the quality of their lives? Of course, if the question is posed that way, the answer is often “both.” Practically everyone wishes to live a long life with the best of health possible.
Most of our guests come to HHI because they were told by someone that this program could improve their health or help them heal from their challenging conditions. However, when they reach HHI their understanding of what health is often undergoes a radical change: health is no longer defined as only the physical experience of not having any pain or illnesses, it comes to mean an experience of wellness throughout the body, mind and spirit. Wellness in the body is feeling strong and lively in every part of the body. Wellness in the mind is feeling motivated to live a full life in terms of one’s relationships, family, job, society and life mission. Wellness in the spirit is feeling in tune with one another, the environment and the Supreme Power or the universe. This experience of wellness in every aspect of life is the CORE of recovery.
The first step to recovery is letting go of what does not belong to us whether it is a toxin or a toxic experience or toxic feelings. In the first week of the program, most of our guests report some level of physical detox: They are lethargic, experience headaches, nausea or have elimination complaints. They also report the emotional detox symptoms related to anger, fear, guilt, shame and “cloudy feelings” like depression. Some of them also tell us they feel isolated from the “real world” because they feel “unfit” or “let down by God”. Overcoming these challenges helps them transition to the next step.
The second step is absorbing the nutrients necessary for physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellness. In the second or third week of the program, we often hear our guests report that they feel stronger, clearer, more active and connected.
I believe the above comments indicate that their bodies are able to absorb the good nutrients in the “living” foods and drinks, that their minds are more balanced than overwhelmed after practicing stress management and other supportive therapies. They report their spirits are uplifted through the many activities offered to reconnect them with the universe and God.
In that context, it is not relevant whether it is the quantity or the quality which is significant. Wellness is wellness, which defies quantification or qualification. It does not matter whether you are adding years to your life or adding life to your years!
Antony Chatham, LCSW, M.Th., M.Phil MSW, NBCCH, is a Licensed Psychotherapist, and a Wellness Coach, has been working with the Hippocrates guests since 1994. Through some remarkable brief-therapy model techniques from Eastern and Western traditions of holistic healing he integrates the knowledge and experience related to the fields of psychology, philosophy and theology in which he earned (three) Master’s degrees and has completed doctoral coursework (at Syracuse University). His work is focused on the state-of-the-art Stress Management using Hypnotherapy, Progressive Relaxation, EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing), Guided Imagery, Regression, and NLP techniques.
Vol 29 Issue 1 Page 20