From the Inside out: Recovery & Nutrition.
Another Covid-19 inspired post.
So, I am self-isolating at home, sitting on my ass feeling sorry for myself and eating yet another TV sized bar of chocolate. I have been ordering takeaways, feeling lethargic and unmotivated.
The last time I was eating like this was before my recovery and fitness journey, and these similar feelings of being sluggish and tired were coming back. It got me thinking about how important good nutrition is to everyone, but is it more important to those battling entering recovery?
Patience: Easier said than done?
Today I am writing about my favourite topic. PATIENCE.
Patience can be defined as; “the ability to bear pains and trails calmly without complaint."
I’m not writing it because I am a patient person, no, it’s for the exact opposite reason. I am a work in progress too. The desire to have something right now is easy in today’s environment, food, movies, amazon prime. We hate to wait. I hate to wait.
Now imagine what that feels like for someone coming to terms with recovery. When I mention the word ‘patience’ to anyone I know struggling in early recovery I am almost feel the imaginary ‘punch in the face’ they have just given me.
RUMINATION: Chewing on the Past.
“Only cows ruminate Gary”.
I was told this at a recent training course, and it got me thinking about writing this blog post. SO, you may ask, what has rumination, addiction recovery and cows got in common? Quite a lot!
Rumination is the process by which the cow regurgitates previously consumed feed and chews it a second time. The re-chewed feed is then swallowed a second time. Cows usually spend more time chewing during rumination than they do when they eat.
In my early recovery I frequently ‘chewed’ over past event, past hurts and negative situations caused through my addiction in the insane hope that’ chewing’ it over would change things. I relayed and replayed and replayed stuff over in my head to the point that effected my mood and behaviour. I spent more time ruminating than reflecting.
Self-Isolation & Withdrawal
So the S#@t has hit the fan.
Who would have thought 4 weeks ago that we were going to be looking at a pandemic, social distancing, shielding techniques and self-isolation. With some countries even looking at lock down. It crazy and uncertain time in our society and we will need each other more than ever to share resources, information and skills.
If you are a dependent alcohol or drug user this may be a difficult time and testing time for you coming up. You could see dramatic changes in you substance use – reduction in supply, quality of drugs etc.. Because of this you may run the risk of Withdrawal.
The Void – Boredom in Recovery
This addiction business is quite a time consuming, exhaustive and all-encompassing thing.
If it’s not taking up most of your physical time; buying, supplying, using, or preparing – it most certainly will be taking up a lot of your mental resources; when can I use; where will I get it; how will I hide it?
Teenage substance abuse - How to have ‘that’ conversation
As a father to a 2 ½ year old daughter, and with my own frightful personal experience of substance abuse, the very thought of my daughter potentially engaging in substance use in the future terrifies me. Yup, Zoey is not even 3 and I’m worried about my reactions to this already.
So I can only imagine the utter fear and panic that today parents experience when they start to see signs their teenager may be abusing drugs or alcohol or have noticed them acting strangely.
One Size Fits All Recovery?
There are more choices today of paths to recovery than ever. These have all been driven by traditional approaches; tried and tested results, scientific research; but most importantly - individual preferences.
We are all unique, have experienced different things and developed our own view of the world. Sometimes when it comes to recovery we have been trying to - squeeze square pegs into round holes.
Despite our individuality the common denominator in our recovery is the need to changing one’s self, understanding that you cannot keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.
Navigating Resistance in recovery
It can be heart-breaking to watch loved ones destroy their own life with alcohol or drugs. As a friend or family member you have tried and tried to help them only to be met with defiance, aggression and ambivalence.
When people have developed a physical and/or psychological dependence on alcohol or drugs there will usually be reluctant about giving these substances up – this is known as resistance.
I was an absolute nightmare at the start of this process. I was; stubborn; prideful and arrogant with no intention of breaking this difficult yet familiar relationship.
Personal Responsibility in Recovery
“Nothing changes if nothing changes Gary. You gotta take responsibility”.
This was the wisdom I received upon entry to my first residential treatment centre. At this point, and with a bitter expression, the voice in my head was screaming multiple expletives at the counsellor.
“What did he think I was doing? I didn’t come to rehab for the craic. I didn’t ask to be here but I am so, keep your fancy quotes to yourself!”
That spell in rehab was my half-hearted and reluctant way of dealing with my long standing personal responsibility issue. It took another, much longer spell in treatment for that.
Christmas in Recovery
Christmas should be an enjoyable time for everyone filled with family, celebration and excitement. However, if you have a problem with alcohol / drugs or are in recovery staying clean can be a real minefield. You may find it more difficult to control your habit on festive occasions when drinks and drugs are easily accessible.
Burnout in Early Recovery
So, it’s 3-6 months after your last drink/drug. You have embraced the newness and excitement of recovery with both arms and feet. You have been attending meetings, various support groups, looking after your health, and training at ARC Fitness regularly (see what I did there?). You have also started to rebuild the relationships that were subsequently fractured during the hurricane of your drug / alcohol use. Things have been pretty busy.
Repeat Prescription? Exercise in Recovery
Eventually, addiction takes a real toll on the human body.
There are indirect physical effects that result as consequences from reckless and risk taking behaviours. I personally experienced; broken bones; dislocated joints; amputated digits; snapped vertebrae.
Also, drugs and alcohol weaken the immune system, damage internal organs and strip the body of the ability to heal itself. I too had to deal with; ongoing stomach problems, endless colds and flu’s as well as damage to my liver and heart.
Exercise can help those on the road to recovery start the process of healing by providing them with physical, emotional even spiritual help enabling them to move forward in their new positive approach to life.
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