Lift Your Spirit

When fitness can be the ultimate stress reliever

By O.R. Marv

We’ve all been there.
It seems like we woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
Things don’t go our way.
Life happens.
Big time negative events or consequences stare us down right smack in the face.
Our blood pressure spikes.
Our fear and anger rises.
Old behaviors and thought patterns threaten to re-surface.
We are nearing the proverbial last feather before we break.
So…what is there left to do?
Snap and have to sort through the wreckage later?
Internalize it and face the health ramifications down the line?
What if I told you we can use something else to blow off that steam in a productive, even healthy way…would you believe me?
That my friends, is where fitness can be the ultimate stress reliever.
Yes…you will have to make it out of the powder keg of a situation you are in…but if you can just hold on, it CAN be the solution.
Just KNOWING you have a healthy way of de-compressing later can give you that tiny last bit of resolve you need before going Patrick Bateman all over innocent bystanders and colleagues.
If you can make it out of that situation without reverting to the past, or doing something you will need to make amends for later…you can surely be rewarded.
Now once again fitness will have different meanings for different people so what works for me doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you – sounds kind of similar to Recovery now doesn’t it???
Whatever you do for your fitness…well – it’s time to get to work!
For me this means intense weight lifting – I don’t exercise, I “train” and I train hard as hell – especially when I need to blow off some steam.
Fitness and what I do for that has become my favorite form of meditation.
It centers me and keeps my emotions on an even keel – almost as much as a meeting although I will never make the mistake of thinking it can replace a meeting.
I kid you not, when I lived in sober living whenever I started to get cranky my roommates in our 2 bedroom apartment unit would tell me, “Marv, it’s time for you to work out…we’re going in my room so do your thing in the living room and get us when you’re done.”
Working out kept me sane during my times working at a humbling job in a toxic work environment.
Working out helped me get through my girlfriend’s two years of cancer treatments and kept me out of my head or wanting to turn that situation into being about me (see how twisted my alcoholic thinking can be when left to my own devices?!?).
Working out aided me in getting through the unexpected passing of my mother last January (although I will admit my workouts were not always healthy they did help me get through some anger without harming others or myself too badly).
Working out can be many things to many people – but you do have to actually do the work in order to reap its benefits.
In fact studies are showing the importance that exercise can have in improving the quality and success rate of adhering to a new drug free lifestyle.¹
With it having such a powerful impact on newcomers to Recovery it should make sense that exercise can only further enhance long term Recovery.
Now again, speaking only for me, I had to make a few adjustments to my old workout behaviors and thought patterns.
Gone are the days of listening to angry-ass music in an attempt to get amped up to lift way too heavy of weights.
If I’m glaring at people between sets with my blood pressure spiked from listening to Metallica, Disturbed, or even Rammstein, it pretty much ensures that workout will not be a meditative or spiritual endeavor.
Today I tend to go to YouTube and listen to mixes with the titles of “Epic Legendary Badass Intense Workout Music” or “Best of Two Steps from Hell” or things of a similar nature – Yes I know they those titles don’t sound much better but trust me, they are!
I also make a huge distinction in that I am working out to better myself – not to punish myself for my perceived inadequacies or shortcomings.
I really struggled with that in the past, especially with how I talked to myself during my workouts – today I don’t cuss myself out or get mad when a set doesn’t go a certain way.
I do my best…and forget the rest!!!
Fitness has become my go to “release valve” for my new clean and sober life…and for that I am eternally grateful.
Will it be yours?
Until next time –
Train Hard – Eat Smart – Live Clean.
One Day at a Time.
One Set at a Time.
ONE REP AT A TIME.
-O.R. Marv


¹Roessler, K. Exercise treatment for drug abuse--a Danish pilot study.  Scandinavian Journal of Public Health. 2010 Aug:  38(6):664-9