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Why Include Fitness with Recovery

January 2020

On the way into the office Tuesday morning I was thinking about the time I’ve been putting in on the trainer.  I’m into the hard gears now, getting ready for March and pushing a gear I couldn’t at the end of last season when I was at my fittest.  There’s a lot of satisfaction in that.  I want to do a lot this season.

I was also thinking about meeting a friend for a dinner we have planned for later in the evening.  He and I meet up every now and again to catch up on recovery and how we’re doing since our fathers passed.  If I was a miracle (and there’s no question I am), he was touched by Jesus to be able to recover.  I don’t know how this guy finally got it, but he recovered and flew right by five years.  If ever there was a helpless person, he was it, so it’s fun to sit down and talk about the state of things for a couple of hours.

So it was those two things that had me thinking a lot about gratitude.  Then my melon moved onto where I came from.  Almost 29 years ago now, I had a doctor standing before me as I sat on his exam table, telling me if I didn’t stop drinking, and soon, I was going to die before I hit my 30th birthday.  I figured he was exaggerating, of course, until he added, “you have the liver of a 60-year-old chronic alcoholic”.  Ruh-roh.

I do love playing that tape back in my head.  My 30th birthday was 20 years ago this year.  That’s TWENTY free years.  I should have been gone twenty years ago, but for the Grace of God.

My mother likes to tell me now and then, how much healthier I am than my father was at my age.  I’m very fit.  I still move exceptionally well for an old fart (possibly only a “getting there fart”).  With all the running I used to do and the cycling I currently do, having left booze and nicotine in my past, I am fairly well preserved.  My current doctor says I’m completely recovered from smoking and my liver healed up decades ago.

[As I sit here writing this post, I can’t help but think how fortunate I am that these are the things I get to think about on on the way into the office.  Jesus, what a change from the bad old days!]

There are a hundred small-ish reasons to include some kind of fitness regimen in a recovery plan, everything from a way to blow off steam to the famed endorphin release, but there’s a big one that really matters as I age sober. My reason for including fitness with my recovery is quite simple; barring a catastrophic event, it’s very likely I’ll live to a ripe old age, all because I sobered up young.  Living a fit, healthy life, I took all of my bad genes (what few there were), put them in a bucket and lit that $#!+ on fire.  While no one is guaranteed a long life, I want to give my 100th birthday my best shot.  If I want to be mobile when I’m 90, I’ve gotta be fit now.



  1. WVrunnergirl says:

    So true! I talk about fitness and recovery all the time as a key part of recovery that treatment misses, including nutrition. But my folks sit there looking at me like I just had a seizure. I honestly literally have one person who is doing some form of exercise and said she feels much better as a result. So at least there’s the one.

  2. annastk76 says:

    I so agree! Running is my best tool for feeling good and on track, I get antsy when I don’t go, exercise is crucial for me. My stepfather had a mild heart attack (all is well now and he is on the mend with no damage to his heart) – lives in the countryside, eats home cooked and healthy food, doesn’t smoke and is a moderate drinker. BUT no exercise. It will have been a number of factors but not moving is bad if we want to stay active. Compared to my mother who never drinks and never has, doesn’t smoke, eats well and goes for a hour long brisk walk every day. She’s pushing 70 but could easily pass for 50. OK, 55. Exercise is the best!

  3. Fitness & recovery go hand in hand for me. I’ve been sober 6 1/2 years this go round (after 17 years and a 3 year relapse). Fitness has played a big part of my sobriety and I’m now living my best life at the age of 54. Sober and healthier than ever. For that, I am deeply grateful 🙏🏼

  4. Biking is my best way of coping since I got clean, aside from writing. I can feel myself slipping into dangerous territory after just a few days without physical activity. Kudos to you on all your clean time!

  5. […] Why Include Fitness with Recovery […]

  6. says:

    I somewhat have the same thoughts. Please consider checking my Blog –

    Thank you.

  7. Brandon says:

    Movement is great for recovery, exercise is movement.
    Cleaning house is a form of exercise.

    Movement promotes blood flow, the system that transports nutrients around the body, pretty important for recovery 🤔

    The body is built to move.

    The key is in the various level of intensity, go hard then recover, which is to say go intense and then dial it back, but not shut it off.

    Great information! 😄

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