There’s a popular mantra in recovery programs: “You have to want to get sober for YOURSELF.” Addiction is such a powerful force that neither family members nor the law are effective at preventing relapse.
Before I quit, the addiction was embedded inside my deepest survival instincts – screaming “DRINK NOW, OR ELSE!!!!!” like a 24/7 bad dream. I knew what the “or else” meant: panic, sweating, shaking, confusion, hallucinations, depression, insomnia, and uncontrollable, self-destructive ruminations. Even if I abstained for 2 weeks and got past the most intense symptoms, the depression would linger. I became convinced that drinking was the only real source of happiness in adult life.
Before I decided to quit drinking for myself, there wasn’t an authority figure anywhere in the world that could have scared me into quitting.
Everything good in life seemed to come from alcohol, and everything bad seemed to come from abstaining from it.
Recovery requires an intellectual realization – “This substance has tricked my brain” – as well as a spiritual awakening – “My life is more valuable than this substance.”
The first begins with a basic understanding of your own mind, and the second begins with a deep grasp of your own value and your own potential in life.
Recovery is much more difficult if you view it as a self-sacrificial deed for society, or for those around you. If you view it through this prism, you’ll always be looking for a brief escape – “Just one drink, I’ve been good for a week/month/year” – and a devastating relapse will be hard to avoid.
Recovery is best achieved by constant self-improvement. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to become physically fit.
Work out and eat healthy food because you value yourself. People will whine about getting “fixated” on “looks” and “protein powders.” Ignore them. Being fit is something they know nothing about.
I can honestly say that if I had to live on a desert island for the rest of my life, I would run sprints on the beach and turn logs into barbells.
Lifting weights isn’t something I do to conform to anyone’s view of what I should do. It’s something that flows naturally from my desire to live a good life, a desire that I realized I had the power to fulfill when I quit my addiction.
The state of mind it affords me makes it way easier to avoid reminiscing about the years I spent drinking and ruining my body.
Find your own way before you let others dictate your life. Kick the bottle for good by improving your life.
Hitting the gym is a first step. Literally smash the bottle with iron.