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Posted by on in Drug Addiction -----> Written by Me Earlier Today!

Many people seem to believe that there is a positive correlation between physical well-being and mental-wellbeing. They believe that the condition of the body is an outward reflection of the condition of the mind. Thus people who are suffering mentally will show some of that distress outwardly. I have already written about the importance between healthy nutrition and sobriety. Now I will discuss my opinions on how regular exercise and care for the body can significantly strengthen your mental state and consequently your sobriety.

Why is physical exercise important?
  1. Health Reasons – In addiction or alcoholism the person suffering often does not take very good care of their health. Some common physical illness that correlate with addiction are obesity, malnutrition, high blood pressure, liver issues, dry or red skin, and gastrointestinal problems. Getting sober, sometimes the person slowly gets his health back. However, some effects of drinking and drug use require some extra effort. This is the reason while physical exercise is so important to someone in early sobriety. Picking up an exercise regimen such as walking, biking, jogging, lifting weights, or swimming can strengthen the body and ease illnesses such as high blood pressure and excess weight.
  2. Calms the Mind– In early sobriety a person will often complain of racing thoughts, anxiety, or insomnia. Exercise is a great way to combat these. As little as 30 minutes of light exercise a day can lead to physical exhaustion. This exhaustion is a good thing! People who exercise throughout the day report less racing thoughts, quicker onset of sleep, and deeper sleep.
  3. Confidence and Self-Esteem – Even if we don’t want to admit it, our physical appearance is of some importance to us. When we look good, we feel good. Picking an exercise activity and sticking with it can do great things for our confidence and motivation. Setting exercise goals, such as running an 8-minute mile, and completing them can raise our self-esteem and be a positive factor in our self-image.
  4. Natural Endorphins – In sobriety it is important to avoid any artificial neurotransmitter releasers, such as alcohol and drugs. However, many people in sobriety enjoy releasing natural neurotransmitters through exercise. An example of this is what is commonly called a “runners high”, which is simply a natural release of endorphins through running. Lifting weights release similar chemicals. These chemicals can help lower stress and help motivate us to continue exercising. It is important to not ‘overdue’ exercise, and doing so can be labeled as cross-addiction.
So how do I get started?

The first couple days of exercising are often the most difficult. If you are not used to physical demanding activities, you will often be sore the next day. I would recommend to take it easy the first week, and set small and very achievable goals such as workout three times a week. After a few weeks of exercise, the benefits become clear to the person and their internal motivation to continue exercising rises. A common myth seems to be that you need to go to the gym to ‘exercise’. Running and biking is one of most widely available ways to work out the body. All it takes is a sidewalk or a park. Some other easy ‘at-home’ workouts include crunches and sit-ups. Many people in recovery also promote yoga as a great way to exercise with an emphasis on calming and healing the mind. The most important thing is to find what YOU enjoy doing and to stick with it.


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Posted by on in Alcoholism --->Originally posted by me

As Thanksgiving looms around the corner, the term gratitude gets used more frequently. Many people think gratitude just means being thankful for all the wonderful things in your life. Is this a good definition of gratitude? In my opinion it is not. Having had my share of both good and bad luck in life, I have learned that gratitude is a deliberate daily practice that is not influenced by material possessions or success. As David Steindl-Rast once wrote,

“Good luck can make us happy, but it cannot give us lasting joy. The root of joy is gratefulness. We tend to misunderstand the link between joy and gratefulness. We notice that joyful people are grateful and suppose that they are grateful for their joy. But the reverse is true: their joy springs from gratefulness. If one has all the good luck in the world, but takes it for granted, it will not give one joy. Yet even bad luck will give joy to those who manage to be grateful for it.”

It is easy to be grateful when things are going your way; it is much harder to find the silver lining in setbacks and tragedy. However practicing gratitude in the challenging phases of your life can truly transform your outlook and ultimately your happiness. The concept of gratitude has importance in recovery, 12 step programs, and spirituality. Wise members of these groups see the benefits of remaining grateful in trying times, such as early sobriety or the loss of a loved one. The psychology behind practicing gratitude is fairly simple; when we acknowledge the blessings in our life it keeps us in a positive mindset. This is especially helpful when we are depressed or stressed out. In such times we often find ourselves looking at the world through a negative lens, but making a list of things we are grateful for in our life often disrupts the negative thinking. Remaining grateful is a practice, and can take time to become a daily habit. Many people report that making a simple list of the things they are grateful for in their life is a great start to incorporating gratitude into their everyday lives. Others make sure to think of one thing they are grateful for before every meal. Gratitude is about pausing throughout our busy lives to take a minute and focus on the blessings of life.

How can gratitude change your life?


Posted by on in Drug Addiction ----> Originally Posted by me

In early sobriety using dreams are fairly common occurrences. This phenomenon affects certain people differently. Some people in recovery report never having using dreams, while others have them almost nightly in early sobriety. Read about what a using dream is and how to deal with them if you are experiencing them.

What Are They?

Before I jump into the description of using dreams I’ll explain why they are so common in early recovery. When people are actively abusing alcohol or drugs, the brain hardly ever goes into deep sleep, specifically the important REM sleep. Dreams happen in between Deep Sleep and the REM stage of sleep, when our brain is resting deeply. As a result many people in active addiction report not having dreams frequently, and rarely remember them in the morning. Now when the same person gets sober their brain starts to go into REM overdrive to ‘catch up’ on the lost REM sleep. This process allows for a large number of dreams, and may seem even more frequent because the person is not used to having dreams. So what is a using dream exactly? I loosely define a using dream as “a dream about using drugs or alcohol, often very vivid and easily remembered upon waking”. Many people report dreaming about old memories of drinking or using with old friends or imaginary people. Others report using dreams involving substances they have never even used in real life. The content of the dreams can vary but they all have the same behavior of using substances in common.


How Do I Handle Them?

People responded very differently to using dreams. Many people say they feel guilty and shameful when they wake up from their dreams. Others report feeling fearful and anxious when they awake. The most dangerous reaction is when the person wakes up from a using dream with a desire to drink or use in real life. Using dreams can be a trigger; they can tempt some people into relapse. Despite what your reaction is, there are a few things you can do to get over the dreams and protect your sobriety. The most important thing to do is to share your dream with somebody. This can be a friend, family, or someone from any fellowship you are in. Telling somebody has a powerful effect on the dream; sharing it takes away its strength and can relieve the guilt or anxiety. This is especially important if the dream triggers you to drink or drug and can save you from a relapse. Another thing you can do is to write down the dreams in a dream journal. Recording the dreams can help you to see the progression of your using dreams. Most people start having less frequent using dreams after 30 days of sobriety. The last tip to deal with these dreams is to read some recovery or spiritual literature before bed. This helps reinforce your sobriety can keep away using dreams.

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