Tag Archives: Exercise During Sobriety

Tag Archives: Exercise During Sobriety


The Challenges of the Holidays

For some, the holidays are a carefree time spent celebrating and relaxing with loved ones. For those in early recovery, the pressures of seemingly endless parties and dinners present an obstacle to sustained sobriety. Catalysts for cravings can appear anywhere – reunions with old drinking buddies, difficult family members, busy travel schedules, financial stress, holiday gatherings fueled by alcohol or even the stress brought on by being back in your hometown. To aid you in preparing for these challenges, Cumberland Heights has compiled a list of tips that will help you to protect your sobriety this holiday season.

  1. Make a Plan for the Holidays

    Before leaving home or participating in any potentially triggering events, be sure that you have developed a plan. This may include asking a sponsor or sober friend to come with you or attending extra 12-Step meetings in preparation of the holidays. Remember that you can always limit your time in difficult situations; you can either set an expectation of leaving at a specific time, or text a friend to call you and request that you leave the party.

  2. Practice Moderation

    Over the holidays, it can be tempting to indulge in heavy meals and abandon your exercise regimen. As with all things, moderation is key. There is nothing wrong with setting aside some time for relaxation and rejuvenation during your time off, but be mindful of how changing these habits can affect your physical health and routine.

  3. Make Self-Care a Priority

    Be sure to take some time for yourself this holiday season. Get a good night’s rest, eat well and find some quiet time each day to meditate or reflect on your emotions. You may be surprised by small, free activities with restorative properties:

    • taking a bath
    • making a phone call to a sober friend
    • curling up with a good book
    • watching silly videos online
    • ice skating
    • asking for help with chores
    • cooking a new recipe
    • decluttering your closets or drawers
  4. Find the “Wise Mind”

    The holidays can be an emotional time of year. For some, unpleasant childhood experiences or past memories from active addiction can be particularly salient during this time. This flood of feelings can be difficult to handle in early recovery. Practice a technique straight from the DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy) manual: finding your wise mind.

    This exercise creates a Venn diagram of possible views: your emotion mind (knee-jerk feelings or perceptions) and your reasonable mind (rational, logical thoughts). The ideal intersection of these two schools of thought is wise mind – a state in which you recognize your emotions, but are not ruled by them. If you are triggered at a holiday gathering, first try to name your feelings before acting impulsively. You may be tempted to lash out or react passive-aggressively. Instead, ask yourself, “Is this wise mind?”

    Wise Mind Holiday Coping

  5. Perform Acts of Service

    Giving your time to others can be a spiritually fulfilling practice. It provides purpose and reinforces your 12-step education, especially during the holidays. If you would like to volunteer from home, you can participate in activities like can drives, knitting hats for infants in the NICU and putting together hygiene kits for the local homeless shelters. If you would like to get out of the house, there are a few great places to volunteer:

    • Homeless shelters
    • Food pantries
    • Local libraries
    • Retirement homes
    • Animal shelters
    • Treatment centers
  6. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help Over the Holidays

    Remember, there are countless others who are staying sober this holiday season. Whether this is your first December in recovery or your tenth, it can be a challenging time of year for anyone. If you find yourself struggling, be sure to reach out for help. This can take the form of calling your sponsor or checking yourself into a treatment center when things become overwhelming.

At Cumberland Heights, we provide residential and outpatient support to those struggling with addiction. Call our staff at 800-646-9998, 24/7. We are standing by to support you.

Working out can greatly benefit your sobriety

Exercise isn’t always the most desired activity for many people, but previous research has highlighted the innumerable health benefits that can derive from it. Not only can exercise relieve stress, better a person’s mood, increase flexibility and strength, but it can also host many benefits that relate specifically to addiction recovery.

Those who struggle with addiction tend to experience a sense of imbalance that can affect nearly every aspect of their lives, even throughout that first year in recovery. Nicoletta Longo, founder of Namastay Sober – a non-profit organization that aims to help people in recovery get connected to local gyms and yoga classes – told Tonic, an extension of Vice Magazine,

“Your chemistry is all off when you stop using. When I was on heroin, I’d have to pound Mountain Dew and Pepsi and coffee and a bunch of cigarettes just to go to bed. Physical action helps regulate my body – I get really exhausted, and it helps me feel like I did something positive, too.”

Self Magazine emphasizes many benefits that come with exercise for those practicing sobriety, such as:

  1. The ability to connect with others in a like-minded community
  2. Rebuilding one’s self-esteem while feeling accomplished
  3. Discovering one’s sense of purpose and re-creating one’s sense of identity
  4. Finding a healthy outlet to cope with challenges and difficult emotions
  5. Accountability towards an exercise community can ensure that a person reaches their recovery goals

The reality is that when you feel better, you’re likely to take greater strides towards your overall health and wellness. Exercise supports that notion by keeping you actively involved in your own recovery – and the persistence, patience and determination required to stay active can translate into other areas of your life, which is always a benefit, too.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of two 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.


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