Addiction is a disease that affects the mind, body and spirit. Conversely, recovery can affect these as well. Although they are all entwined, I believe that we cannot treat one without treating the others. Once the “fog” of active addiction dissipated, I began to think a LITTLE more clearly. I was eventually able to read the Big Book, share with my therapist and sponsor and complete the assignments I was given while in treatment at TPOT. When I discharged, I continued to read program literature as well as other spiritual literature. I began working in the recovery field, so I used my brain (which is just another muscle) daily to problem solve and to help other addicts who wanted/needed treatment. I took simple action that helped to heal my mind, slowly, one day at a time.
I was also directed to pray (in the morning when I woke up and at night before I slept) and ATTEMPT to meditate when I had down time. I remember the first couple of weeks in the Fireside pit during morning meditation, my mind was most certainly not quiet, and I wouldn’t say I did much meditating. But slowly over time, as I was more and more comfortable in my own skin and a LITTLE less crazy in my own mind; I learned to sit quietly and invite a God of my understanding into my heart and soul. During my time in early recovery, maybe the first year and a half, my mind was much clearer, and my spirit started to feel lighter. I worked the steps and I was connected to the program, but I still didn’t feel all that great physically.
My body was ravaged by the drugs and alcohol that I was using for so long and I had no idea how to take care of it. I stayed up late, I ate fast food, I smoked cigarettes and I rarely exercised. I remember calling my sponsor one day and telling him how I felt; at that time he had been sober for over 18 years. We discussed my routine regarding my mind and spirit and when I told him how poorly I was caring for my body, the lightbulb went off. He reiterated how addiction is a 3-fold disease and we must address and care for all 3 aspects if we want to live “happy, joyous and free” in long-term recovery.
Having gone through treatment at Turning Point where they treat eating disorders too, I wanted to be mindful about developing a possible exercise addiction or the pitfall of using illegal supplements such as steroids. I was in treatment with a young man who was sober for 2 years and shared that his relapse began with using steroids; I did not want that to happen to me as well. I also shared all of this with my sponsor who listened empathetically and shared his experience, strength and hope. He shared how much better his body AND mind and spirit felt once he started to exercise and eat healthy. He is a man who “has what I want,” and, that is why I asked him to be my sponsor after all, so I took his suggestion. I slowly started to change my diet and work out regularly and I felt like a new person. I noticed how treating my body helped to treat the other aspects of my recovery. I now had more energy, I began to get stronger, I was able to sit for longer in my meditation and I was just happier overall.
No one ever promised me that recovery was going to be easy, but they GUARANTEED it would be worth it. I look at my journey to physical fitness the same way. There are days when I’m not feeling it or when my body is sore, but I show up and I put the work in, and I feel better after I have done so. It is the same way I have to show up for my recovery. There are days I don’t want to take my sponsees’ calls or go to a meeting, but I do it, no matter what.