You’re in recovery and sober living is now your top priority. There are many obstacles along the way, ranging from outside triggers to old habits. As you form new habits, you’ll want to look for things that enrich your life and make the journey of recovery a little easier. Exercise and eating healthy foods are two of the best, most straightforward ways to help you feel better during your recovery and doing it in a more natural way.
Fresh fruits and vegetables give you the energy you need for an active lifestyle. An active lifestyle is the best possible way to occupy your time— it helps keep your mind off of your addiction and fill in the gaps those old habits left behind.
Besides helping you stay healthy, exercise releases endorphins, which make your mind and body feel great. Physical fitness and the act of using your body regularly will also improve your self-worth– you’ll feel better about yourself and feel empowered to continue the recovery process every day.
Food for Recovery
Changing how you eat can power your recovery, as well. Healthy choices go hand-in-hand with a healthy lifestyle. If you’re working to improve your mind and body every day, you’re less likely to throw that progress away when temptation strikes.
– Stick to the Food Pyramid – It might have changed a little since you first learned it, but the food pyramid is a great starting point for healthy eating. Five or more servings of veggies, five or more servings of fruit, two to three servings of fish, meat, and eggs, two to three servings of grains and dairy, and only sparing servings of salt, sweets, and fat.
– Avoid Junk Food and Comfort Food – Limit snacking on junk foods throughout the day. Try to stay away from sugary and starchy foods. You’ll experience unpleasant feelings during recovery, which might make you want to eat for comfort. Comfort food might slightly ease your emotions, but it can usher in other problems like:
* Lower self-worth
* Lack of energy
Keeping up your energy and self-worth is essential for fighting temptation, and it’s empowering to boot. Alcohol and sugars break down exactly the same way in the stomach, so avoiding sugary foods will help you avoid those alcohol cravings.
– Avoid Caffeine – It’s tough, but avoid caffeine when you can, especially early in the recovery process. Supplements like ginseng and B12, coupled with lots of water, can help you feel some of the “zip” you’re missing without caffeine in your life. As you continue exercising and eating healthy, you’ll have so much natural energy you’ll forget caffeine ever existed. That being said, don’t beat yourself up if you need a cup of tea or coffee every once in a while.
There are plenty of places to find healthy food in the Albuquerque area. By shopping at local farmer’s markets, you can find natural, healthy produce and support your local community and economy, too. Farmer’s markets are also family and recovery friendly, so they’re an extra safe space.
Fresh foods that are naturally and locally grown are much healthier than overly processed foods. Plus, farmer’s markets are full of fun, laughter, live music, and local crafts.
The Rail Yards Market is open on Sundays from 9am-1pm from May to October.
The Corrales Growers’ Market takes place every Sunday at 9am.
Downtown Growers’ Market is open Saturday mornings in Robinson Park at 9am.
You can also visit this site to find another local farmer’s market in your area.
Exercise and Sober Living
Exercise goes hand-in-hand with eating healthy, natural foods. Gym memberships are great, but there are plenty of alternatives that are free or nearly-free. If the gym makes you uncomfortable, or if it’s just not a realistic option, there are still plenty of other ways to exercise.
Your recovery process is unique to you, and your exercise routine will reflect that.
– Yoga – People have been practicing yoga for thousands of years, and there are many reasons why– it leads to cardiac and circulatory health, increased flexibility, weight loss, increased energy, increased physical strength, and has many other benefits as well. In the Albuquerque area:
Endorphin Power Company also offers free yoga classes for individuals in recovery on Wednesday nights.
If you’re more comfortable doing yoga at home, Adriene Mishler has a great yoga for beginners video series on YouTube.
– Running – Running is a great way to exercise. Not only is it free, other than the cost of shoes and clothing, but there are also thousands of running groups available to support you and offer you advice. It’s uncomfortable when you first start, but the results are undeniable once you start making progress. Runner’s World has a great (and realistic) eight-week program for beginners. Both Meetup and Running in the USA have handy tools to help you find a running club or group.
– Sports League – Team sports can also offer a supportive and constructive environment. You can start a sober softball, kickball, or flag football team with other people in the recovery process and your sober friends. Albuquerque has WAKA, an adult kickball, and social sports association. You can also find (and start) sober leagues, games, teams, and teammates on social media, Meetup, and Craigslist. As always, use caution and bring someone with you when you’re meeting a stranger or a group of strangers for the first time.
– Swimming – In the hot summer months, swimming is one of the best forms of exercise. It’s easy to jump in and take a few laps, but it’s difficult to master the art of swimming. It fits with virtually all ability and fitness levels. It’s good for you, but it can also get your mind off of temptations and obstacles in the recovery process– who doesn’t look forward to a trip to the pool? Here’s a list of public pools in the Albuquerque area.
– Fitness Apps – Apps obviously aren’t a form of exercise, but they can help you track your progress and hold you accountable. Accountability is a large part of the recovery process, and it carries over into making positive choices and building a healthy body. PC Magazine put together a recent list of the 25 best exercise apps currently on the market.
This is just a small list. There as many types of exercise as there are types of movement. You could also start trail biking, join a dance class, or workout with aerobics videos in your own home.
Making positive, healthy choices requires more than just staying sober. To get the most out of sober living, you have to supplement your daily routine with healthy foods and exercise. If you’re not already eating healthy and exercising, just focus on gradually changing your habits. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but hold yourself accountable and always be working on a better version of you.
The journey lasts a lifetime, and our lives are made up of our habits and daily choices.
For more tips on staying sober, download our Ultimate Sober Living Checklist.