“I did not get sober to just sit around and let life live me, I got sober to live my life the way I want to.”
In my ten years of recovery
, a huge part of my life has been personal fitness. It has remained a constant and instrumental part of my day to day recovery. It has allowed me pathways to meditation, a positive and healthy lifestyle, and a way that I can challenge myself and set achievable goals. I don’t just walk through my fears today, I run through them.
Running has been such a huge part of my recovery story. It has led me to find an alternative way to meditation. It sounds a little crazy, because I always thought meditation happened in a dark room, quite room with candles, etc. Through running, I have found ways to connect with nature, release nervous/negative energy, and with just the right mix of classical and jazz on my music playlist it is a natural way to quiet the mind and open it up for mediation. Running is a simple exercise in founded in redundancy. Breathe in, breath out. Put one foot in front of the other. Repeat. Through those simple actions, I have found a healthy way to quiet my mind from the noise of everyday life. That is what running and meditation has meant to me.
Fitness has not only been a pathway to quieting my mind, it has also been a pathway to feeling good about myself. Setting goals in recovery has been pivotal for me, as in active addiction so often I could only imagine failure and feeling stuck in the “Poor me” mindset. Through fitness I have found a way to set goals for myself, and to achieve those goals. Not always perfectly, but the progress in achieving them has been life changing. Did I ever think I could run a 5k? My first time out running I could barely run a mile. Did I ever think I could play softball? I had never picked up a softball bat or glove in my life. Did I ever think I could go rock climbing? Let’s talk about a real life fears of heights. The answer to all of these 10 years ago would have been no. However by setting small goals that I could achieve along the way to the overriding goal has taught me so much about myself and how to apply that mindset to all aspects of my life. Today I am not only running 5k’s but now training for 10k’s. I am not just trying to hit softballs, I was coach of the year in 2016 for my softball league. Rock climbing, well I did some indoor climbing a few times and learned all about it, but I have not yet scaled a real “rock” yet. Progress, not perfection they say. As long as we take everything one step at a time, I have learned through fitness, that anything can be achievable.
My recovery has been a journey of many ups and downs, but through it all I always can feel good about myself through fitness. Whether I am at home, at work, or traveling somewhere across the country, I can always get out for a run or hit the gym to find a positive affirmation for myself. We say in the fellowship that we bring ourselves wherever we go, well just in case I bring my running shoes too.
Game on for recovery!
The Jim Gillen Teen Center
The Jim Gillen Teen Center is an environment that celebrates, and helps facilitate recovery through dynamic programming, shared lived experience, and peer support.