Health, Wellness and Recovery: Deanna’s Story

Before I found recovery, health and wellness were not high on my priority list. Not only was I killing myself with drugs and alcohol, I was also killing myself with a horrible diet, sedentary lifestyle, cigarettes, sugar, not getting enough sleep…. If a substance, food, behavior or lifestyle choice was considered “unhealthy,” I was most likely participating and/or indulging in it.  I was unwell in every sense of the word – I was overweight. I was depressed. I was tired. And I was convinced that I would always be that way.

[su_frame align=”right”][/su_frame]After coming into recovery and starting to truly work on myself, a lot of my old and unhealthy habits didn’t seem to fit anymore.  I was making a sincere effort to grow and starting to take care of myself spiritually and emotionally; not taking care of myself physically was not conducive to the life that I was trying to build.  How could I be putting forth all of this effort to better my life and ignore such a key component? So I made a conscious decision to make health and wellness a focus in my recovery.

I’ll be honest – my lifestyle changes didn’t happen overnight, and they didn’t happen all at once. But one by one, I started tossing bad habits aside and replacing them with new, healthier ones.  I traded soda for green tea. Pizzas for veggie stir-fry.  Movie marathons for long hikes.  The more I made different choices regarding my health, the more I began to feel differently.  I began to lose weight and build more muscle.  I began to sleep better and my mood drastically improved.  The more positive results that I saw and felt, the more willing I was to continue making positive choices.

Making health and wellness an essential (and not an optional) part of my recovery has completely changed my life.  Finally taking steps towards living a healthy lifestyle has enabled me to do things that I never thought possible.  I have climbed mountains.  I have jumped through fire (literally).  I have run thousands of miles across some of the most beautiful terrain in the country.  I have proven to myself that with dedication and determination, there is nothing that I cannot accomplish.

[su_frame][/su_frame]One moment in particular stands out from the others as a realization of how far I have come in both my recovery and my journey to health and wellness. In September of last year, I completed my first marathon. That’s 26.2 miles in a little over 5 hours.  As I was running, I began reflecting on my life.  On the days of my active addiction, when I wasn’t sure whether I would LIVE to be 26; running 26 miles wasn’t even something that I could fathom.  When I first began running I had to stop every minute and a half to catch my breath; now here I was running for hours without having to stop.  As I crossed that finish line, I was filled with immense gratitude for how far my journey had taken me.

Through recovery, I have been able to come to the realization that I am worth taking care of.  And through recovery, I have a life that I am proud of living.  And because I want to be around for a long, long time to enjoy that life, I take care of my health and wellness.  Being healthy is a non-negotiable for me, and it is one of the best and most impactful decisions I have ever made.

 

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