Growing up, I was hardly a fitness guru.
In fact, I was a chubster.
In high school, college, and the early-twenty-something life that followed, working out was an afterthought if a thought at all. When I started working in the service industry and began eating irregularly, smoking copious amounts of cigarettes, and was on my feet for extended periods of time, running around, weight fell off. I somehow associated this with being healthy, even though it was really just the result of poor eating habits and strenuous physical work.
While most avid exercisers in my life ranted and raved about endorphins and health, I really couldn’t be bothered. I was thin and happy. Without much effort, outside of working. I ate well on weekends, poorly most every other day, getting most of my calories from beer and mixed drinks after my shift. It always struck me as silly to put forth any effort if it wasn’t necessary. Alcoholic thinking. Only then, I didn’t know it.
Fast forward to just a month ago.
My alcoholism in full throttle. Gone were the days when just a few drinks after my shift would suffice. It was more like a day’s worth of calories in vodka between 9PM and 2:30AM (when bars close in Oregon). It only added insult to injury, my already low self esteem about to hit bottom. I hated my life, and now suddenly, my body, for the first time in years.
What they don’t tell you when you get sober, is that there are not enough cigarettes in the world to melt away your stress.
So, I started to actually use my gym membership, in addition to hiking Powell Butte.
Not only am I looking much better, but, it keeps the unending anxiety attack at bay. And, mildly improves my sleep. It’s more than something to do in sobriety. I need it. My sobriety has really come to depend on it. The gym is a safe place to go. A place I can be angry. I can pound out 6 miles in about an hour, and some days that hardly seems long enough. Once I’m in the zone, I feel like I could just go on forever.
It’s a strange thing. To have my physical health suddenly become a priority. Strange to realize, even though I’ve heard it many times, that mind and body share the ultimate bond. And now, in my sobriety, to discover what my body is capable of and pay it homage (well, it will forgive me the cigarettes for the moment…I’m quitting October 1st…).
I started this thing, sobriety, with the intention of getting my mind in order, and, what do you know? When you clear out the fucking clutter, other things fall into place.
I’m grateful to do my body this service, especially after the long ride I’ve taken it on.
This time, we’re in it to win it. Sober and strong.