Getting Back on the Recovery Path

I call my spiritual journey recovery because it reminds me that mental health is fluid and not fixed. I don’t achieve a healthy mental state by being. I can only achieve a healthy mental state by doing.

I realized this morning that I wanted to slide back into the worry and woe is me state. But I also remembered that God is a God of love. A Course in Miracles taught me twenty years ago that I can not hold two thoughts at the same time in my brain. So I needed to change my thoughts.

This divorce that started in July, 2009, and is difficult because I have no money, no job, and no living family. But I do have 33 years of continuous sobriety (Nov. 24, 1976) and I did dedicate my life to the God of my understanding 33 years ago (January, 1977). So I have tried to make my spiritual journey an opportunity each day to serve my Lord.

My home group in AA has 41 members to date with over 300 years of sobriety. A few of the members have been in this group for over 25 years. Sometimes small groups will be overtaken by one strong group member who will impose his/her will on the group. But this group has no such leaders. Instead we each share and lead and laugh and console.

I have written recovery tips for all aspects of ourselves. This week/month I am focusing on the body–our physical health.

My eight basic recovery tips for my physical health are:

1. Have a plan for healing your body and work your plan.

2. Decide your heaviest eating time period. Be sure to have healthy foods on hand for those craving periods.

3. Don’t ever go on a diet. Diets are deprivation. Life is to be lived and enjoyed. Instead develop your own food program. Your food program should include the things you love to eat. Choose to eat from a small plate. Eat half as much as you used to eat. I use a 1/2 cup measure.

4. Remove food temptations from your home. If you are eating right, you will never be uncomfortable after eating.

5. Plan daily times for exercise. You may need to schedule several shorter periods rather than one long one. The new recommendation is for 60 minutes per day. I belong to a gym because it gives me motivation when I see all the other people there. I was not a natural lover of exercise. I have learned to like exercise now because I have an exercise plan and I follow it. But mainly I exercise because it makes me feel better.

6. Divide your exercise among aerobics(cardiovascular), strength, balance and flexibility. Rotate among these types of exercises throughout your exercise week. The main
reason that people don’t complete exercise programs is because they are bored–plan your exercise to be fun. Also learn to monitor your heart rate. Since I am 64, I checked with my doctor first before I joined the gym. I believe anyone at any age should see what their doctor recommends for them. Learn to measure your target heart-rate zone. This zone is the number of beats your heart
beats per minute. Learn to measure your heart rate recommended for your age.

7. Develop a list of 20-30 healthy things that you like to eat that are 100-200 calories each. Be sure to include several of these daily and always have them on hand.

8. Break away from people who aren’t supportive of your choice to be healthy. Criticism is not support. You need to be around people that love and support you. From time to time, you may have someone around you who is draining your energy. They “yes, but” you about everything. I say about these people that I can’t emotionally afford them. How can
I help anyone if I allow one person to drain me? Our energy is like a battery–drain the battery, no energy.

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