I Went from Sedentary Alcoholic to Sober Athlete

For many years, I was a walking paradox of health. I ate mostly vegan, organic whole foods, yet I drank the large half of a bottle of wine every single night. I almost exclusively used natural cleaning and beauty products, yet didn’t partake in a single form of regular exercise. By most nutrition standards, I was a pretty freaking healthy person. But how healthy could I really be as a sedentary alcoholic?

Alcoholism is loaded topic, trust me when I say that as a 12-year functional alcoholic. I have no shame in admitting that I was the A word. Now that I’m recovered that is. When I was actively consuming alcohol, there was no greater shame in all my life. Funny how with one simple choice to give it up, I am now able to enjoy the exact opposite emotion in place of the gut-wrenching shame. 

Instead of beating myself up over what I didn’t do right, I decided to focus what was going well. What did I believe about the value of healthy food that made it such a priority for me? What would happen if I applied that same belief to alcohol and exercise?

I set out to answer those questions for myself. I could boil it down my belief in the importance of healthy eating to one concept: we are energy.

Not “Just one more cup of coffee to get me through the day” energy.

But “There’s this force within me, and it’s the feeling of being alive” energy.   

I had an intuitive understanding that if I select high quality foods, then I would experience high quality life energy. “We are what we eat” is a pretty well accepted notion, yet it’s rarely remembered at the grocery store. This concept of eating for energy goes beyond what I ate to get me out the door in the morning, and instead focused on what raised my frequency. 

This is not an airy fairy concept. This is rooted in the practical side of feeling better in daily life. Energy flows through us, and it comes in part from the food we eat.

Originally, it took some research to understand what qualified as high quality food. There is no shortage of beautiful resources out there on this topic. Then it became a process of experimenting on myself to see what made me feel good, and what didn’t. It was really that simple. It changed with time, so I kept paying attention. My taste buds evolved in stride too - I began to love all the new foods more than any of the old crap I used to eat.

The real point is that I recognized what had inherently worked so well for me around diet and nutrition choices, I isolated and studied that concept, and then I intentionally applied it to both alcohol and exercise.

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Alcohol came first:

I already knew that I had a desire to live at a high vibrational level. I wanted to raise my frequency because I knew intuitively that that would have a meaningful effect on my life. But I was addicted to alcohol; the habit was very strong so I needed an even stronger incentive in order to overcome it.

Since I knew the quality of my energy field was a motivating factor for me, I started paying attention to the quality of my energy after 1 or 2 or 5 drinks. For a few weeks, that was the object of my attention. I didn’t worry about reducing or tapering off my drinking, I simply was interested in what happened to my energy as I drank my normal amounts.

At first, it was uncomfortable to witness the depression of my energy field when under the influence of even small amounts of alcohol. What I used to think I enjoyed, now was becoming downright unbearable. Until one day, about 3 weeks into the practice, I skipped a night of having a drink - which had not happened since I was 21, and I mean that quite literally. Then another night, then another. Until before I knew it, I was so in tune with the quality of my energy field that I was unable and unwilling to diminish it. Even for my beloved elixir.

Now there is more to the recovery dynamic than this, and I’m on a mission to share all the most helpful parts. But this is an absolutely critical component of how I successfully quit with no withdrawal, and only a couple stumbling blocks.

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Then exercise:

I’ve always been thin (although I did lose 20 lbs as a vegan that never came back), but I would joke that I “couldn’t run around the building.” I wasn’t particularly athletic nor would I ever have considered myself “in shape.”

But I was sick of that! For over a decade I had tried to find a way to trick myself into exercising. It never worked, I just couldn’t get any momentum around it.  

Then finally a friend gave me advice: “Start slow, like start with anything at all.”

I signed up to meet a trainer at the gym for 2 30-minute sessions a week. I mean, that’s fairly small.

You can guess what happened next, I fell in love with it. All the sights and sounds that used to bug the shit out of me at the gym now became my happy place. I loved the feel of my muscles in action, the burst of adrenaline after some power lifting. 

I was in tune with how it felt, and that feeling wasn't easy to forget. I didn’t worry about anything beyond that one hour a week, that’s it. (Although now I do workout more like four days a week, but I gave myself a year to get there.) It turns out doing 2 short sessions a week, over the course of months and years, is a recipe for results.

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Now I’m a sober gym rat. I made myself this way. I made intentional choices and recovered my own power. I put my mind to things and I made them happen. I got sober at 30 and fit at 32 and now I can say that by the time I’m 42 my life will be a lot better off for both.