Lama Tsultrim Yeshe is a Buddhist Monk who is affiliated with Karma Triyana Dharmachakra (“KTD”). He is based in Wisconsin and Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he oversees Hay River KTD. Lama Yeshe is a trauma survivor himself and brings trauma informed experience and knowledge to traditional Buddhist practices. He’ll share his insight and offer Buddhist tools you can use during these highly stressful days. Make sure to watch for our interview tomorrow at 9 a.m.
Here are some links to Lama Yeshe’s social media offerings. All times noted are Central Daylight Time. On May 5, 2020, he starts a book study of The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron.
Rob Best is the founder of the Barbell Saves Project, a drug and alcohol recovery organization that provides fitness for addicts in Phoenix, Arizona. I had the opportunity to talk with Rob about all the exciting sober active recovery happening in Phoenix. Rob has been sober from meth, alcohol and other mind-altering substances for seven years. After falling into a black hole, he credits fitness and recovery with saving his life and he wanted to extend that to other addicts. The Barbell Saves Project offers free fitness classes to all skill levels. The goal is healing the body to save the mind.
Meet Scott Richardson!! In this interview, Scott share’s about how he got sober, gained lots of weight until he hit 400lbs and then finally, retook control of his physical health through exercise and nutrition. Scott is now truly sober, healthy and happy!!!
Scott’s 68 years-old and with 31 1/2 years sober, he’s a USA Triathlon coach, a USA Masters swim coach, two-time Iron-Man, ultra-distance runner and completed a 50-mile race in October of 2019. He is currently training for a 100-mile race in October 2020 and studying for certification as a National Academy of Sports Medicine (“NASM”) personal trainer. ..
Scott explains the tools he used to get where he in our interview! He helps others through “New Freedom Fitness”, a coaching agency he has started…
You can contact Scott through this Facebook page: @Scott Richardson. For more information on Spiritual Adrenaline, visit www.spiritualadrenaline.com.
#aa#na#hope#sober#soberlife#hope#spiritualadrenaline#centralrecoverypress#centralrecoverypress @ Normal, Illinois
The Detroit Recovery Project was founded by Andre L. Johnson, in 2005. Today, The Project is the “go to” organization for the recovery community in Detroit and Wayne County. The Project is saving lives by offering extensive programming to members of our community including a peer support training institute among many groundbreaking programs. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, The Project has taken some of its programming online to provide virtual support to those in need.
Bryce Cobb III is a Peer Recovery Mentor and Director of Social Media at The Project. He joined me to discuss what The Project is all about, the recovery community in Detroit and virtual programming including yoga and smoking cessation that you can participate in for free. Bryce is also in recovery himself and shares about his experience, strength and hope as well as his recommendations to get through this difficult time healthy and sober.
Life has certainly gotten more complicated for all of us over the last few weeks as the full impact of the Corona Virus becomes clear. For those in addiction recovery, short or long-term, the impact has resonated in ways that rock the spiritual foundation for many addicts and alcoholics. Well-accepted pillars of addiction recovery, including reducing isolation, getting to twelve step meetings and engaging in fellowship with others, are no longer recommended for a simple reason: they are no longer safe. For most of our country and the world, getting out and actively engaging in twelve step meetings or fellowship would likely result in violating shelter-in-place orders. The sudden need to not only accept what you cannot change but embrace it right now at risk of death, presents an unprecedented challenge.
Liquor Stores and Marijuana Dispensaries are Essential Businesses
At the same time, while most businesses are closed, in New York State and many others, liquor stores remain open as they have been designated as “essential”. Patrons can call in orders to bars and have their favorite cocktails delivered. In Colorado and other states where marijuana is legal, non-medicinal marijuana dispensaries also remain open and have been declared “essential.” According to the market research firm Nielsen for the week ending March 22, 2020, hard liquor sales were up 75%, wine sales up 66% and beer up 42%. Online liquor sales were also up 243%. Sales are up at marijuana dispensaries and in the pornography industry. In a country where so many cope with crisis by numbing themselves with addictive substances or behaviors, those seeking to maintain their sobriety seem even more isolated and alone. A.A., N.A. and other major recovery communities have moved meetings and other types of support online. There are twelve step meetings offered via zoom and other platforms almost 24/7. However, online meetings and other traditional recovery modalities do not necessarily support the physical health. That’s where using this time of shelter-in-place to develop a self-care lifestyle can benefit you in the short and long-term.
Self-Care, Your Sobriety and the Pandemic
Studies show that those who integrate a self-care lifestyle, including exercise and nutrition, into their recovery, have much higher rates of success. Exercise can prompt the brain to regenerate dopamine receptors, reduce cravings for alcohol and drug, prompt the body to produce “feel good” hormones like endorphins[i]. The reason, exercise stimulatea the dopaminergic reward pathway and contribute to a reduction in levels of stress, anxiety and depression, all of which are prevalent in people who identify as being in recovery[ii]. In fact, some researchers have identified a correlation between exercise-related activity and the ability to cope with stress and anxiety in order to stay sober[iii]. The positive outcomes increase exponentially for those who also integrate healthy eating[iv]. It turns out your Mother was right all along: “you are what you eat” and “move a muscle, change a thought”. Advice for those in recovery regarding exercise routines and healthy nutrition, specific to the addiction recovery, is not so easy to come by. Here are some recommendations, all evidence-based, that folks in recovery can try during the shelter-in-place. Time at home over the next couple of weeks or months can be used for one of two purposes. To reinforce negative behaviors that will drag you back to addiction or develop positive new habits that affirm the desire to maintain your sobriety, even in these most challenging circumstances.
Although shelter-in-place and social distancing have changed how and when you can exercise, some good old-fashioned ways have resurfaced. Walking, probably the most under-appreciated form of workout, is becoming very popular. Put on your mask and gloves and walk around the block, to the store or go to a park. You can even invite someone to join you: I call that “green fellowship.” Even five minutes a day or regular waking has been shown to improve self-esteem and mood! Studies show outdoor workouts increase the benefits you receive compared to indoor workouts[v]. Almost every day I take a walk or a bike ride through a park or along a river or lake. Just like I never feel worse after attending a twelve step meeting, I’ve always feel better when I get home from my morning workout! If you can develop the habit of walking in the morning, it will help put you in a positive mind-set all day long. Take advantage of green spaces, fresh air and lack of crowds during the shelter-in-place and you might just get “addicted” to this positive habit[vi].
Bill W., one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, created a list of the “go to’ foods for alcoholics which undercut their sobriety. He referred to these foods as “The sister foods” to alcohol. They are French fries, potatoes, white rice, pasta, soda and refined sugar. The reason you want to avoid these foods is they are all calorie rich, but nutrient deficient, just like alcohol. They prompt your body to overproduce dopamine and other feel good hormones in an unsustainable way. This creates fluctuations in blood sugar and mood, just like alcohol and other substances did in active addiction. Here’s my recommendations for healthier alternatives: instead of french fries, sweet potato fries; instead of potatoes, yams or sweet potatoes, instead of white rice, whole grain or brown rice; instead of a starchy pasta, try a vegetable-based pasta, instead of refined sugar, honey; instead of soda with refined sugar, tonic or seltzer with fresh fruit to add flavor These are simple dietary changes that can lead to profound changes in your body, mind and spirit during shelter-at-home and beyond.
In our society, which requires almost everyone to multi-task and juggle many responsibilities simultaneously, shelter-at-home is a chance to breathe. If you can frame this opportunity to be home with family or just yourself as a positive one, you can appreciate the opportunity to reflect on your life and sobriety. In the context of nutrition, exercise and your recovery, the chance to reflect and journal is an opportunity that may not come again once things return to “normal.” It’s an opportunity to make conscious contact with your body, by integrating the Twelve Steps into what you eat and how much you exercise. Journaling will be even more impactful if you have applied the specific nutrition and exercise recommendations referenced earlier in this article.
Conduct a Fourth or Tenth Step inventory on how what you eat and the amount you exercise impact your health and sobriety. Here are some suggested questions: How does what I eat make me feel? Do I tend to eat emotionally and why? Do I tend to eat late at night, if so, why? Do I eat many of the sister foods to alcohol? If so, how can I modify what I am eating? Do I eat to numb emotions or avoid dealing with them? Do I eat at my problems? If so, how can I better handle these emotions or problems?
Now apply the Tenth Step to exercise or the lack of exercise in your life. Does my lack of movement impact how I feel? How has my lack of exercise impacted my health? How has lack of exercise impacted my sobriety? How can I better integrate exercise into my daily life? If you have gone out for walks as I recommended, try these questions: How do I feel after I go for a walk, better or worse? What did I enjoy most about going to the park today? What type of exercise can I commit to when I go back to work? Where can I work in exercise in my daily routine (use stairs rather than elevator)?
Don’t make the mistake so many Americans are making by choosing to numb yourself with alcohol, drugs, food, sex or other addictive behaviors during the next couple of weeks or months. Use shelter-at-home and social distancing as valuable “me” time to reflect on your relationship with food, exercise and your spiritual life. Keep an open mind and try these simple recommendations that can transform not only your sobriety but allow you to make conscious contact with your body, improve your physical health help foster a more positive outlook on life. For lots of ideas that can benefit you during these difficult days, visit www.spiritualadrenaline.com.
About the author:
Tom Shanahan is a civil rights attorney who lives in New York. He is also a personal trainer and certified in sports nutrition. He is the Author of Spiritual Adrenaline: Strengthen & Nourish Your Recovery, published by Central Recovery Press. Spiritual Adrenaline teaches people in recovery how to integrate exercise and nutrition into their twelve step practice.
[i] C.L. Robertson, et al., “Effect of Exercise Training on Striatal Dopamine D2/D3 Receptors in Methamphetamine Users during Behavioral Treatment,” Neuropsychopharamacology 41 (2016): 1629-36.
[ii] A.H. Taylor, et al., “Acute effect of exercise on alcohol urges and attentional bias towards alcohol related images in high alcohol consumers,” Mental Health and Physical Activity, 6, no. 3 (2013), 220-26.
[iii] S. Strode, et al., “impact of aerobic exercise training on cognitive functions and effect, associated to the COMT polymorphism in young adults,” Nuerobiology of Learning and Memory 94, no. 3, (2010): 364-72, cited by K. Blum, S. Teitelbaum, M. Oscar, Molecular Neurobiology of Addiction Recovery: The 12 Steps Program and Fellowship (New York Springer Publications, 2013): 26.
[iv] J.L. Medina, et al., “Exercise-related activities are associated with positive outcome in contingency management treatments for substance abuse disorders,” Addictive Behaviors 33 (2008): 1072-75.
[v] J.O. Barron and J. Pretty, “What is the Best Dose ofNature and Green Exercise for Improving Mental Health? A Multi-Study Analysis,” Environmental Science and Technology, 44 (2010);: 3947-55.
[vi] J. Thompson Coon, “Does Participating in Physical Activity in Outdoor Natural Environments Have a Greater Effect on Physical and Mental Wellbeing than Physical Activity Indoors? A Systematic Review,” Environmental Science and Technology, 45 (2011): 1761-72.
Yana Khashper, is a co-founder of ROCovery Fitness in Rochester, New York. She is originally from New York City and has been in the Western New York area since 2012. Yana is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with extensive experience in trauma, addictions, and mental health. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from New York University and went on to work with The New York City Fire Department Counseling Unit where her focus was to provide services to firefighters and emergency personnel of the FDNY impacted by the WTC tragedy and other disasters. Yana’s addiction took hold of her life during this time leading to complete incapacitation. She struggled for years before finding recovery. When she entered recovery, she experienced a sense of loss, lack of purpose and overwhelming sense of emotional pain. It was not until she found physical activity and exercise that she felt a sense of freedom and purpose in her life. In her darkest hour, Yana was able to find peace in letting go of old ideals and creating a new life founded on healing and healthy living. She became passionate about bicycling, weight-lifting, kayaking, and getting out into the outdoors. Most of all, she found that being outdoors has significantly strengthened her spirituality and given her added tools she needed to live sober and free. She wants to share this gift with others who are on similar journeys of their own. Get busy living!!
Yana and I discuss tools that people in recovery can practice during these challenging times and virtual programming offered by ROCovery Fitness that you can participate in.
For more information on ROCovery Fitness visit www.rocoveryfitness.org. You can also check out ROCovery’s social media: Facebook: ROCovery, Twitter: @rocoveryfintess and Instagram: @rocoveryfitness.
For more information about Spiritual Adrenaline, visit www.spiritualadrenaline.com.
Mike Foley is a personal trainer and sports nutritionist with two decades of experience. Over his two decades, he’s worked with more than 20,000 clients of all ages, body types and in and out of addiction recovery. He’s also the author of Eat to Be Fit: The Truth About Fat Loss.
Late last year, he opened Foley’s Fitness, a full-service fitness mecca in Scarborough, Maine. He’s been a regular contributor to Spiritual Adrenaline since its inception.
In this interview, Mike and I discuss what fitness is all about and how it impacts recovery during these difficult days and his top recommendations for you to maintain your sobriety while we shelter-in-place.