Holistic Therapy For Veterans & First Responders

When it comes to treating Veterans and First Responders who are struggling with substance abuse or mental health issues, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. For some Veterans and First Responders, medication and therapy are useful in helping achieve recovery. For many others, a whole-person holistic therapy approach to treatment is the ticket to achieving meaningful and lasting recovery from addiction.

What is Holistic Therapy?

Traditionally, addiction treatment primarily focused on treating the symptoms of addiction — namely, an abstinence-based approach that emphasized quitting drugs and alcohol. However, this approach often did not go far enough in addressing the underlying causes of addiction. In addition, it doesn’t always provide tools for maintaining sobriety outside of the safety of residential treatment. Fortunately, it is now understood just how important it is to also treat the mental, emotional, and spiritual effects of addiction. Holistic therapy is a way to treat Veterans with a “whole-body” approach that allows them to achieve a more total healing from addiction.

Numerous studies have demonstrated holistic approaches to addiction treatment to be very effective in helping Veterans and First Responders to achieve a longer-lasting and more complete recovery. These programs help people rebuild their self-confidence and self-esteem. They also give them a better understanding and acceptance of their own identity. Identity is often an issue that Veterans often grapple with once they leave their respective services.

Holistic addiction therapies don’t just offer a path to sobriety. They can also help lower stress, reduce depression and anxiety symptoms, improve physical health, and provides tools and techniques for dealing with relapse triggers and major life events.

Types of Holistic Addiction Therapies

Veterans and First Responders interested in alternative ways to help overcome their addiction to drugs or alcohol will be glad to find that there are a number of different options available to them. Depending on what best suits your interest and abilities, Sunrise Veterans offers the following holistic addiction therapy options:


While it may not seem like a traditional therapeutic approach for treating addiction, kayaking is a popular adjunct treatment of holistic addiction therapies for Veterans. Not only does it get you outside and in the sunshine, but it also gives you a mental escape from everyday problems and concerns. Kayaking also helps people:

  • Learn how to work with a team 
  • Use problem-solving and communication skills
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Improving sleep hygiene
  • Build stronger resilience
group of Veterans kayaking during holistic addiction therapy

Adventure Therapy

While it may seem like nothing more than getting outside and getting some exercise, adventure therapy provides much more than just exercise. Utilizing this holistic therapy while in recovery helps you to reconnect with nature and build confidence in yourself and your abilities.

You and your counselor will set tangible goals during adventure therapy. Once reached, it can help you to realize that you can do anything that you set your mind to. This approach can help work through immobilization responses that often accompany PTSD, build resilience, and boost self-esteem.

hikers helping one another climb during adventure therapy for addiction

Equine Therapy

Equine therapy is about more than just riding horses. It’s about learning every aspect of equine care. You’ll clean out stalls, learn how to properly groom horses, and more. Equine therapy is a very popular form of holistic therapy. Learning how to care for horses provides a sense of accomplishment that comes with such a big task. 

Horses are calm and quiet animals that appreciate your attention. This helps Veterans and First Responders by giving them a place to go that calms them in return. It also helps Veterans and First Responders relearn how to shoulder responsibility in a way that isn’t overwhelming. This helps to solidify both your independence and your confidence in yourself.

US Veteran feeding horse during equine-assisted holistic addiction therapy


Yoga is a great choice for Veterans dealing with chronic pain or mobility issues due to injuries.. Over time, practicing yoga can actually help improve these issues, as well as help build lean muscle and improve your self-esteem. 

Yoga isn’t just exercise. Many postures in a yogic practice require staying in the present and focusing on what your body is doing. This sort of required mindfulness helps calm the mind and, in turn, the body. Additionally, the focus on following the breath helps calm the nervous system.

yoga class for Veterans during holistic addiction therapy


Meditation is more than just sitting still for a period of time. It also teaches you how to control your breathing and empty your mind. While people have been practicing meditation for millennia, science has demonstrated the physical and mental health benefits of meditation. A regular meditation routine helps give you the ability to relax when you’re feeling anxious or wound up, as well as how to calm down if you suffer from mood swings or anger management issues.

outdoor group meditation during holistic addiction therapy

The Benefits of Holistic Therapy for PTSD

At Sunrise Veterans, we don’t offer holistic addiction therapy just to say we have alternative therapies. Research has found that it is extremely beneficial to Veterans and First Responders — especially those who are suffering from PTSD. 

Living with the symptoms of PTSD and addiction makes it difficult for Veterans to relax. It also increases stress and anxiety tremendously. Holistic therapies help to treat all of these issues, making it easier for you to work through your trauma to find a fuller and more meaningful level of healing. Some of the proven benefits of holistic addiction therapy for Veterans and First Responders include:

  • It helps to treat the emotional, mental, and spiritual effects of PTSD and addiction. 
  • It helps you learn how to better manage stress without letting it overwhelm you or set your recovery back.
  • Significantly reduces your risk of relapsing.
  • You are able to choose from a range of options. This gives you the ability to choose a therapy that you enjoy.
  • You are able to continue these activities even after leaving your treatment facility. This helps you fill your time with a meaningful and enjoyable activity.

Begin Holistic Addiction Therapy for Veterans and First Responders

If you are a Veteran or First Responder struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, a whole-person approach to your sobriety can optimize treatment and improve recovery outcomes. Our holistic addiction therapy programs give you the freedom to choose a therapy option that is both enjoyable and fulfilling, helping to encourage your feelings of self-worth and independence. 

Don’t let addiction continue to control your life – get the help that you need at Sunrise Rehab and Recovery. We’re experts in treating the unique needs of Veterans and First Responders, including those suffering from addiction and PTSD. Contact us today to learn more about our holistic addiction therapy options, and get started on the path to a fuller, more meaningful sobriety.

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