View all:  Voices of Recovery

April 25

“While physical exercise is clearly an outer-circle activity, we feel it deserves special attention because so many have found it to be a valuable support for maintaining sobriety.”

Tools of Recovery, page 40

Sometimes I can’t identify my feelings, or I feel too overwhelmed to talk to anyone without being toxic and regretting my words. Other times I feel drained, numb, flat.

Moving my body can help break the stalemate in my mind. I don’t have to be an athlete to use this tool. Just getting outside to walk or put my feet in the grass is often a quick way for me to get unstuck. Seeing the vast sky or hearing birds can instantly remind me that there is much, much more to this life than the old tapes that clamor to frighten and debilitate me. Also, doing something with my hands like puttering in the garage, tending the garden, doing some housework, or making something can help break the cycle.

Any physical action can be meditative. As I move, my mind slows to a manageable pace. I can recall and repeat a program slogan, affirmation, prayer, or mantra. I can explore my feelings and create space between my thoughts and actions. Beneath the shell of chaos, I often discover hurt, loneliness, or vulnerability.

I can ask myself what I need. Perhaps I’ll call a sponsor or friend, go to a meeting, or write in my journal. Maybe I will prepare some wonderful food or do something creative. Maybe I will simply relax and enjoy the beauty of this day.

When my mind gets stuck, moving my body can change the view.