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Aromatherapy for Addiction

Aromatherapy essential oils have a great many uses, from cleaning, splashes of flavour into favourite dishes and skin care, but have you ever stopped to consider why these little bottles of oils are so effective and what's actually in them? Turns out aromatherapy for addiction is a very effective tool because of the influence it has on even the most haywire nervous systems. Addiction is almost always the result of trauma. Sometimes it’s the big T trauma such as abuse or witnessing a horrific event. Sometimes the trauma isn’t so obvious, and we call that little t trauma and it includes things such as a caregiver who wasn’t emotionally available or a loss of a significant person or even a pet. The thing about trauma is that it wreaks havoc on our nervous system. Our nervous system regulates our moods and when it goes wrong, addiction is a likely result. 

If you’ve been in recovery long enough you’ve heard the term triggered. This is slang for your nervous system going into overdrive or in fancy words, stimulation sympathetic nervous. This is where panic resides as it’s our fight, flight, or freeze system. We don't’ make good decisions while operating from this system. This is when we pick up a drink, yell at our partner, or for fall into codependent crazies and start blaming everyone outside of ourselves for the life we created.

Essential oils can help you switch the nervous system into the calm  peaceful state called parasympathetic where you automatically partake in healthy and effective behaviours

Aromatherapy for Addiction- Early Recovery

Essential oils are particularly effective for people in early recovery for people who might be struggling with a connection to their higher power. A strong connection to a higher power can also stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, but it’s so incredibly helpful to have a tangible object that can assist, especially in troubled times. When using the proper scents for specific times, we overtime build an association, meaning everytime we smell sandalwood for example we feel a sense of calm, because we’ve practiced it over and over. Is there a particular scent you remember from a happy childhood memory? Mine is cedar. Everytime I smell cedar I’m transported back in my memory to when we would visit our favorite family friends who had a cedar hot tub. With essential oils we’re doing that exact thing except we get to create the memory of our choice by practicing it over and over. It doesn’t take long to teach our brain a new neural pathway that is beneficial, instead of harmful. 

Aromatherapy for Addiction - What it Can’t Do

Unfortunately there is no magic pill to cure addiction. You still need to do the work and wade through the ugly stuff inorder for sobriety to be sustainable. For this the 12 steps of AA or NA are absolutely amazing. You still need to work through your trauma, but essential oils can help you keep moving through it, instead of getting stuck on repeat of the same old story.


You also need to feel your feelings. Addiction is the avoidance of feeling our feelings. Trying to avoid feeling our feeling is like trying to keep a beach ball under water. It’s gonna keep coming up over and over over. But when the yucky stuff comes up, you can find comfort in a bottle of Lemongrass or when a shame spiral starts Rose essential oil can help pull you out. 

In summary, aromatherapy for addiction can be a great help to those who are suffering and to those who seem to have a handle on things. If you have any questions at all feel free to reach out, because I, Kim, am an alcoholic too. We offer free 30 minute consultations, free weekly classes and there are plenty of great resources right here. I wish a clean and sober 24 hours.

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