Sobriety is a lifestyle change NOT a diet from your addiction.
We’ve all done it. Swim suit season is upon us so we try on last year’s suit and notice a budge or a roll. We decide right then and there to cut out the sweets, carbs, etc… We deny ourselves those treats hoping for a dramatic change. We are excited about the future us and charge into our week full of confidence that, with a little will power, we are going to rock the poolside this year. Then we get to work and someone brought donuts, someone else offers pizza for lunch. And you just sit there starving, longing for the things you can’t have. Every commercial that evening is about food, happy people eating delectable food with nary an once of fat on them. You cry out at the injustice of it all, why can they have all the food they want and I can’t have any! For a week this goes on and then you hop on the scale only to see this seemingly herculean effort has resulted in negligible results. At that moment your will power evaporates and you decide to cheat. Just a little decadent desert, something to reward all your efforts you say. Two tubs of Ben and Jerry’s and a supreme pizza later you’ve lost everything you’ve done so far. So you just give in and accept the fat.
Unfortunately people try the diet approach in sobriety all the time. “No need to change anything else, I’ll just quit____”. They start off with such high hopes only to fail because, while their heart was in the right place, their mind wasn’t. Sustainable weight loss and sustainable recovery require a life style change, not the mere avoidance of certain things. To be sure the new life style will involve the absence of things but the key is the introduction of healthy, equally satisfying things. The mindset should be not to give up things but to replace them with things that will lead me closer to my goal. People often feel overwhelmed with the loss of their substance. It was literally an integral part of their everyday life. It is similar to losing a loved one in a sense. That loss is so complete. There are two paths forward; think of nothing but the loss or forge a new life without them. You’ve probably seen both in those around you. The man who loses his spouse and remains broken hearted the remainder of his days. The lady that loses her spouse and goes forward to volunteer or devote her time in other worthwhile endeavors. Addicts have the same paths; look at the loss or look forward. Finding healthy, beneficial activities does not have to be a big obstacle. Simply find a recovery community in your area and participate in some of their activities. Phoenix Multisport is a fun, sober, physically active community that may be in your area. Step Seven is a faith based community and there are hundreds of others made up of recovering addicts that are banding together to celebrate life. If you are stuck on where to begin a search for a community near you give me a call.
Thought for the day: When my mindset is not “look at what all I can’t have or have lost” but “I am working toward a better me where I will be able to ____”. That mindset will produce results because it is set on a better future state. Look forward, seek new activities, broaden your reach!
Thom Straley - Thom is the Executive Director at Step Seven Ministries & is a certified life coach specializing in addiction recovery and small business growth as Aim Point Coaching. To learn more about Aim Point Coaching, visit Thom's website by clicking the link above!