Day one of the #14Days on the Wagon challenge is here. Congratulations on taking the first step and joining us on this two week journey to better health and greater understanding about addiction and recovery.
Addiction is a disease that touches millions of Americans in some way, whether they struggle with it themselves or have a loved one who does. The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that nearly 23 million people in this country need treatment for a drug or alcohol problem.
Tommy Rosen, founder of the Recovery 2.0: Beyond Addiction Online Conference and author of the new book, "Recovery 2.0: Move Beyond Addiction and Upgrade Your Life," helps us kick off the first week of the challenge by sharing his top tips for living clean. A leader in the field of yoga and holistic recovery, Rosen has the personal experience of more than two decades of recovery from acute drug addiction and knows what it takes firsthand.
"If people go through this two weeks, this 14 days on the wagon, and they have a hard time doing it, it should be a real eye opener," Rosen says.
If you are starting this challenge today -- avoiding alcohol and any non-medically necessary drugs -- and want to be successful, Rosen suggests a system of guidelines to help. Here are his tips for an optimal first week on the wagon:
1. Recruit some friends. A supportive community counts when you are trying to build a new lifestyle.
2. Mind the caffeine. Without alcohol, your liver will begin cleansing itself. Coffee and energy drinks can cause dehydration and slow down the liver's healing process. Rosen suggests easing up on the coffee for the next two weeks.
3. Get active. This two week challenge is also a detox. Make sure you sweat every day.
4. Amp up water intake. Alcohol is dehydrating. "I've never seen an addict to be well hydrated," Rosen says. He suggests adding a little pinch of Himalayan sea salt and lemon to your water to rev up hydration and cleansing.
5. Say no to sugar. "Sugar is the gateway drug," Rosen claims. Instead of seeking processed sweets when you're craving comfort, try eating something fresh and natural that can really nourish your body.
Rosen also says it's important to be aware of your environment and the impact it has on your habits. So, skip the bar this week. Putting yourself in scenarios where you typically drink alcohol could prove problematic right now.
If all of this scares the good times right out of you, don't worry. Rosen's been living drug and alcohol free for over 23 years, and he promises, "There is so much going on in the world. You can have fun without drugs and alcohol."
Tell us about your experiences using the hashtag #14Days.