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Posted by on in Recommended Reading

I recently called a friend to talk with her about a choice I needed to make. I've learned through the program of recovery how valuable perspective beyond my own helps assure I’ll do the next right thing.

However there are times, like this one, when I already know what I want to do yet I go through the motions anyway.

Bad idea.

Sure enough things didn't pan out the way I had wanted. When I ran into my friend, I had to fess up about the result. This is pretty much how that conversation went:

FRIEND:  So how did everything work out?


Posted by on in Alcoholism

Over the last 12 years, I've done a lot of self-study about what kept me in lock step with the powerful disease of addiction. I've peeled myself back, layer by layer, to unveil the root causes for this.

One of the most profound things I uncovered during that investigation was how the toxic phrase “I should know better” directed my life.

Growing up, I heard, " Honestly, Alison you really should know better” on a rather regular basis. This phrase was so ingrained into my head that as I grew older, if I found myself in a bad spot, within a second I’d think, “Ugh! I should have known better!”

For the average person, a reflection like that is nothing more than a casual check-in.

Not so for someone who lived for decades underneath the addictive, obsessive diseases of alcoholism and an eating disorder. For someone like me, that statement is monumentally damaging.


Posted by on in Alcoholism

I am honored to be the December Expert particularly because this first day happens to be my birthday. Yet the date does not mark the only time I was shifted from a place of comfort to a visceral shock to the system.

I’ve been given the most precious gift of life three times. I was physically born in December of 1961, almost died in 2001 and then tested fate again in 2008. The 46-year journey was a roller coaster of addiction, emotional chaos and nonstop searching for a way out.

Although I can't remember the first few celebrations of the date I entered this world, all accounts indicated they were joyous, happy and fun. I’ve been told people poured attention on me with beautifully wrapped boxes to open and cards read by others with messages for a future far better than their own.




Posted by on in Alcoholism

Whether you are in shape, overweight, malnourished, or anywhere along the spectrum, exercise is an amazing tool in recovery.  Exercise and recovery go together well because when we are using, we exercise very little.  Our eating habits are often unhealthy.  We sit around, use, and do not utilize our bodies.  When we get sober, we often feel like doing the same, as our minds are running, we are full of anxiety, and we want to lie in bed all day.

Benefits of Exercise in Recovery

There are many benefits of exercising.  The most important point to mention is that exercise releases dopamine in the brain.  When we exercise, it keeps our dopamine receptors working and prevents them from dying off.  As we exercise, we are physically providing ourselves with the happiness chemical.  One day at a time, and over an extended period of time, exercise helps create happiness.  If we do not exercise or utilize these dopamine receptors, the brain prunes them off in order to increase efficiency.

As we exercise in recovery, we get rid of much negativity.  Exercising is a fantastic way to get rid of anxiety, anger, worry, restlessness, racing thoughts, and many many more emotions.  Working at a dual-diagnosis treatment center, I see many clients join us with anxiety disorders and anger issues.  They resist exercise as much as they possibly can.  However, when they finally begin exercising, they invariably admit to feeling the benefits.  As somebody who deals with anxiety and extreme anger myself, I find exercise to be absolutely invaluable in my recovery.  Exercising is one of my most useful tools when I am feeling any negative feeling.

Finally, when we exercise in recovery, we are taking contrary action and building esteem.  For many of us, exercise and taking care of our health are not things we have been doing.  When we begin to exercise, we begin to feel better about ourselves.  Whether we are losing weight, gaining weight, or remaining at the same weight, exercise helps us feel better about ourselves.  We are active, get outside, and ultimately are happier.

Ways to Exercise in Recovery

There are many simple ways to exercise without going to a gym or exercising in a tedious manner.  Some of us may be gym rats, but if you are like myself, the thought of going to a gym feels like going to work.  There are ways to exercise in a more relaxed, peaceful manner.


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