STRIVING FOR BALANCE IN OUR RECOVERY
STRIVING FOR BALANCE IN OUR RECOVERY
By O. R. Marv
Want to know if you’re Recovery is working for you? Well…how busy are ya? Do you feel like you’re barely keeping up with all your obligations, whether that includes work, family, friends, significant other or spouse, exercise, Recovery – potentially meaning meetings and step work if you choose to attend 12 step fellowships – hobbies, school, etc.?
Well – that is not a problem my friends no matter how much we may want to complain. No, no, no – that’s great news because it means your Recovery is working for you!!!
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have all of those great things “going on” for me when I was in my active addiction. Nothing trumped getting loading and finding the means and ways to do so. When our life gets busy it means whatever we are doing for our Recovery is working, because it’s only if we are able to put full effort into such things do we truly get the benefit out of them.
Now yes, technically I managed to do school, work, “friends” aka using/drinking buddies, family…sort of, exercise, and the hobby of getting loaded…but not like how it is today. No, today I am fully invested in those things, and actually have too many awesome responsibilities on my plate at any giving time.
And this is when striving for some sort of balance in our Recovery becomes so crucial. Yes, certain responsibilities OBVIOUSLY get priority over others. For instance, work is going to have to trump hobbies, family is going to have to trump friends, school is going to have to trump vegging out on TV…but we cannot forget that Recovery HAS to trump all of the above.
Recovery didn’t save my old life. Recovery gave me a NEW life. Recovery comes first, no matter what that entails for you, it has to be your first priority. The rest is going to be based on what is required from you.
Some of us don’t have to work, or only work part-time while others work full-time or even multiple jobs. Some of us have families, others don’t. Some of us have gone back to school, others haven’t. Some of us have a significant other or spouse, others are single. No matter what you have going on, you are going to have to find a balance.
If you want your physical health and fitness to be part of this equation that includes not just exercise but your nutrition too, because let’s face it, if you want to eat “smart” it is going to take some time and effort. Just how much time and effort you put towards your overall fitness through exercise and nutrition is based on a few things:
How much time do you have left from all of your previous responsibilities that you can devote to exercise and nutrition?
Look, if you have work 60 hour weeks, have a family, attend meetings, etc., then yeah, you may not have a lot of time to devote to your fitness…we all only have 24 hours in a day and we all need to sleep at some point – hell most of us need to sleep more! So expecting to spend an additional 15 hours a week on exercise and nutrition is going to be a challenge, but that’s not to say we can’t devote a fraction of that during week, say 5 hours and still get a “return on that investment.”
What types of goals do you have in regards to your definition of fitness?
Are you just looking to lose some weight and/or gain some muscle? Are you training for an event such as a marathon or involved in a competitive sport? Obviously the former goal is going to require less time than the later goal. The grander your goal, the more likely the more time you are going to have to spend on that. But let me state that you will be surprised it probably won’t take as much time as you may anticipate (i.e. we do NOT have to spend 2 hours at a time at the gym lifting weights or trudging on a treadmill - we can get everything we need to get done in 60 minutes or less and still see phenomenal, if not better results). The loftier your goals however, the more likely you will need to spend more time on exercise and nutrition.
Just how important is your fitness to you?
Given the restraints we are given with our other responsibilities there is only so much available time we have but…again, it comes back to how much of a priority is your fitness? For instance, for well over 2 years in my early Recovery once I transitioned out of treatment, I went to bed at 9 PM sharp and woke up at 3:40 AM to fit a cardio or yoga workout in before my 5 AM work shift so I could still attend a meeting in the early evening – and yes I would work out again once I got home only this time it was weight training from 2:30 to 3:15 PM. I didn’t just prioritize my schedule, I scheduled my priorities so fitness, work, and my Recovery got top priority over being a social butterfly or staying up late to watch TV.
Finding and maintaining this balance in our Recovery between all of our responsibilities will forever be the challenge. Don’t take the easy way out and just make excuses though about how you don’t have time to exercise or set up eating “smart” then turn around and waste 3 hours a day watching TV or surfing the web and social media.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:
IF IT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU, YOU WILL FIND A WAY. IF IT’S NOT, YOU WILL FIND EXCUSES.
We are absolutely more capable than what we give ourselves credit for. And yes, getting into shape through exercise and “smart” nutrition can be daunting, it can take hard work, discipline, and sacrifice. When we have all of those other responsibilities in our Recovery start to pull at us it can be easy to brush off our physical health and ignore exercise or “smart” eating.
But remember WHY we want to address our physical health in our Recovery. It is a form of personal amends to ourselves for all the pain and suffering we dragged ourselves through while we were in our active addiction. It is a way to ensure a well-rounded Recovery process since the disease of addiction affects us mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and PHYSICALLY so our physical health must be addressed.
Look, I found a way to make sure I could drink or drug in the past given my responsibilities…I am pretty sure I can find a way to make sure I can work on becoming a little healthier in my new substance free life.
And that is what I challenge you to do. To not only strive for balance, but to include things in that balance that you never thought you’d be able to do. No, I am not telling you to blow off your family, or blow off your Recovery to get a workout in. I am telling you to really reflect and see where you can add such things into your new, awesome, responsibility-filled life.
Anything worth a damn in this life is NEVER effort-free. And that’s why those things are so rewarding. That is why our Recovery is so rewarding. That is why re-uniting with our families is so rewarding, or having old dreams and aspirations re-awaken in our Recovery are so rewarding, whether that mean hobbies, school, etc. Making time for your fitness and physical health through exercise and “smart” eating can be just another amazing thing you accomplish in your Recovery.
You owe it yourself…and you are absolutely capable of doing so – I don’t care what that voice tells you in your head - YOU CAN DO THIS!
It starts with just One Day at a Time.
One Set at a Time.
One Meal at a Time.
One Rep at a Time.
And before long, you’ll find your body, and ultimately your spirit, lifted to new heights you never thought possible.