COVID’s Silver Lining: Live Well to Honor Those We Have Lost.

Why living well is the best way to honor those we have lost. 

Each day when I wake up and turn on the news, I’m reminded of the horrendous death toll caused by the pandemic. It’s a tragedy on a scale hard to imagine. I’ve lost friends, colleagues and loved ones just like most other Americans. As the pandemic is far from over, I continue to pray for those who have been taken by the virus and hope the vaccine will mitigate future death and misery. 

As dark as the COVID cloud may be, the irony is that the pandemic has also had a silver lining. You may wonder how that could be possible!? 
At the outset of the pandemic, I resolved myself to use my time “sheltering in place” and in isolation as productively as possible. I watched as many relentlessly posted depressing and often obnoxious messages on social media and/or complained about having nothing to do. This behavior only reinforced the fear-mongering of the main stream media and accomplished nothing.

In contrast, I decided to focus on gratitude, spending more time with family and helping others. If any of the 500,000 Americans taken so far could come back for even one day, I’m confident they would be grateful and focus on family, loved ones and enjoying themselves. Not embracing anger, fear and obnoxious judgmental behavior on social media. 

Here’s the silver lining in my life resulting from the dark cloud of COVID

  • Having had the opportunity to work virtually, I spent much more time with my family. Rather than rushed visits, I was able to spend many days at a time and enjoyed more meaningful conversations and activities. Most importantly, my Mom is 91 years-old. Each hour I get to spend with her is a gift. I’ve embraced this gift made possible by the pandemic. 
  • Pre-COVID, my nephew Benjamin was always too busy with high school during the week and as a referee at soccer games on weekends to really spend time with me. We usually connected with each other briefly at family dinners or celebrations. At the outset of the pandemic, he expressed an interest in hiking, one of my passions. Since last April, we’ve hiked in New York, Connecticut, Massachusettes and Vermont. This past week, to celebrate his 18th birthday, I took Ben to the Grand Canyon. We enjoyed a five-day hike and camping along the Grand View trail at the bottom of the Canyon. It was an epic adventure he’ll remember all his life! During the hike, we spent hours discussing his interests, passions and goals for the future. You cannot put a price tag on that type of bonding! 
  • To help others in New York City struggling with their mental health due to the pandemic, I along with a small group of others, most notably Ben Green and Esther Yang, formed Sober Active NYC. We offered free workouts in Central Park. We then merged with Scott Strode and The Phoenix, the largest sober active group in the nation, to form The Phoenix NYC. Now, New Yorkers can enjoy all kinds of free programming, but more importantly, be part of a community of supportive people who truly care about others. Go to www.the phoenix.com or @thephoenixnyc on Facebook to participate.
  • Financially, I set goals to pay down my mortgage. Since travel wasn’t possible and so many businesses were closed, it seemed like an opportunity to focus on work and get my finances in order. I was able to pay down my mortgage and just refinanced. Although it was often hard to focus on work given the tragedy unfolding all around me, I recognized that succumbing to fear and endlessly watching the news or surfing on social media would get me nowhere. Now, as we hopefully emerge from the pandemic, I am in a much better financial place. This will enable me to dedicate more time to my passion projects like Spiritual Adrenaline, The Phoenix NYC and service to others. 

Being anxious, depressed and living in fear would not have made the last year and one-month better for me or anyone else. In fact, it would have made it worse. Just like all of you, I struggled to maintain focus, avoid acting out with food or other substances as coping mechanisms and was challenged to remain positive and optimistic that things would be better in the future. It was a struggle each and every day but I stuck to it! I took it one day at a time and utilized coping tools I developed over the last ten years. 

Many of the tools I utilized to not only survive, but to thrive, during the pandemic are included in my book Spiritual Adrenaline: A Lifestyle Plan to Strengthen & Nurture Your Recovery. It’s available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. For lots of free ideas on how you can thrive, visit www.spiritualadrenaline.com
Every morning when I wake up, I focus on gratitude for being alive. I cherish each day as a gift! I endeavor to do the best I can to improve my life and help others. I truly believe that living well is the best way to honor the memory of those we have lost!

Anthony Fazio, Temperance Training, South Florida and the Sober Active Movement…

Here is my interview with Anthony Fazio, one of the Founders of Temperance Training.  Anthony, Rob Thomas and Timmy Mustion came together in 2017 at CrossFit HYPE in Boca Raton, Florida, to create “Sober Sundays,” a CrossFit class for people in addiction recovery.   Since then, Sober Sundays has grown into: Temperance Training, which offers daily workouts for people in addiction recovery; The Temperance House – a sober living home that integrates a self-care lifestyle into an outpatient treatment plan; and, the Temperance Training Foundation, an organization that promotes wellness throughout South Florida.

The exponential growth confirms the sober active movement’s growing recognition as a movement that reduces relapse rates and improves quality of life.   Temperance recently expanded to Daytona Beach and will likely continue to grow in the years to come.   For more information on Temperance Training, visit www.temperancetraining.org.   For more information on Spiritual Adrenaline, visit: www.spiritualadrenaline.com.

I visited CrossFIT HYPE back in December 2017 and taped a number of interviews with Fazio, Rob and Timmy.    You can check them out below:

The Importance of Finding the Right Sponsor:

Timmy Mustion and Sober Sundays

Meet Crystal C:

Meet Kyle R.:

Happy New Year from Temperance Training:

#aa #na #hope #spiriutaladrenaline #activesobermovement #centralrecoverypress #aanyc #sobernyc #nycsober #nyc #sobernyc #nycsober #recoverynyc #nycrecovery #twelvestepsnyc #sober #soberlife #soberactivemovement #sobriety #sobermovement #soberliving #cleanandsober #12steps #recoveryispodsible #alcoholicsanonymous #narcoticsanonymous

#soberactivecanada #temperance training #temperance #crossfithype 

Walks with Sean S.: Sober Active New York City….

Sean S. loves walking all around New York City for both his physical and mental health. Last year, Sean took the Spiritual Adrenaline Challenge and lost 22.7 pounds! Most of the weight was lost walking!!!! Now Sean is going to help others looking to feel better, get out in a non-judgmental activity and learn to be present and enjoy the true beauty of New York City. For more information on “Walks with Sean….”, visit the Sober Active New York City Facebook page. For more information on Spiritual Adrenaline, visit www.spiritualadrenaline.

Sober Active Canada: Alex Talbot brings the sober active movement to Canada….

Alexandra Talbot is a Canadian Recovery Advocate, Certified Health and Life Coach, Competitive Bodybuilder on Team Carlie’s Angels and now the founder of Sober Active Canada.

Alex is an addict and alcoholic with three years sober. She has recognized the power to choose recovery and has made it her highest priority the last 3 years – one day, one rep, one meal at a time. For 28 years, Alex abused substances in complete disregard for her health and wellness. Substances took from her any dignity she may have had. With a burning desire to change her life’s course, she finally surrendered and turned it over, flipped the script, woke up and leveled up some 38 months ago. Alex will tell you she believes “Recovery is a workout, so work out your recovery. Fitness and nutrition have proven viable approaches to my recovery, complemented by my 12-step program. At 41 years of age, I’m in the best mental, physical and spiritual shape of my life – brain, body, spirit fit!” I asked Alex what advice she has for others, here is what she had to say: “A healthy self is to heal thy self. Providing a judgment-free environment open to all people in, stages of and pathways to recovery, Sober Active Canada fosters health, hope and healing amongst its community of like-minded individuals actively addicted to bettering themselves. Its locally based, Canada-wide events effect and support lifestyle change through beginner workout and physical group activities coupled with 12-step style format meetings.”

You can reach Alex as follows: IF: @soberactivecanada E-mail: soberactivecanada@gmail.com IG: alexytalbot_healthyxxl E-mail: healthyxxl@gmail.com For more information on Spiritual Adrenaline, visit www.spiritualadrenaline.com

Chris Bilyk: I Used My Stimulus Check to Create a “State of Gratitude!”

Every single one of us can make a difference in these difficult times.  How we go about inter-acting with others in our community, on social media and the world around us can have a profound impact.  The impact can be negative, or it can be positive.   I want to introduce you to Chris Bilyk, a sober person in addiction recovery and what he used his stimulus check to do. 

Chris decided that other people needed help more than he did.  He took the funds and used it to build out a website.  You can check it out on www.stateofgratitudeusa.com.   He’s designed t-shirts with his logo “State of Gratitude”.   You can purchase t-shirts on his website and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to needy individuals and/or organizations, in the addiction recovery field. 

On its website, State of Gratitude shares its philanthropic vision:  

“Individuals coming out of rehabilitation treatment facilities often have been out of work for a lengthy period of time, typically around 30-90 days, and have had little to no income during that time. Coupled with the burden of bills and other expenses, this can seem like a crippling and daunting situation to anyone fresh on a new path to sobriety.

Here at State of Gratitude, we want to help facilitate a fluid transition from treatment to the outside world lessening unnecessary stress to help you focus on getting back on your feet. Whether you use the money for sober living expenses, groceries, or a cell phone bill, we are here for you.”

         Good for you Chris.   You are a role model for putting the needs of others before yourself.   If it’s true that you cannot keep what you have without giving it away, you are golden. Support Chris and State of Gratitude by visiting his website: www.stateofgratitudeusa.com   I bought a shirt and cannot wait to wear it.  Make sure to spread the message about Chris and what he is doing.  Small acts of kindness add up…

Johnny Armijo: New Mexico & the Sober Active Movement….

Johnny Armijo is leading the charge for the sober active movement in New Mexico.  He’s a Peer Support Specialist for Albuquerque Center for Hope and Recovery and is the lead representative of the Addict2Athlete (“A2A”) program in New Mexico. 

Johnny was born and raised in Pueblo Colorado.  He grew up with a normal life, amazing family with no substance abuse by his parents or other immediate family members.  He had his first drink at the age of 11 years old and it was a downward spiral from there.  He was drinking on a daily basis through school while also playing sports.   He got his first DWI at the age of 19 and has dealt with law enforcement and probation for over 20 years while in active addiction.  He’s been clean from drugs and alcohol for 3 ½ years.   He has been with the A2A program for 3 years and as he credits the A2A program with saving his life.  Nothing worked for Johnny until he found the sober active movement and solution.  

Johnny’s story of hitting rock-bottom, spending seven years in prison and now enjoying many years sober and helping others attain the same is inspirational.   He’s a proud Dad and Grandfather who is very open about his struggles early in life but more importantly, how he moved past them.  Make sure to check out the full interview tomorrow.  

To contact Johnny or for more information on the Albuquerque Center for Hope and Recovery and/or A2A New Mexico, visit www.ACHRNM.org. For more information on Spiritual Adrenaline, visit http://www.spiritualadrenaline.com.

The sober active movement is growing.  Join us and take your sobriety to a new level.  

aa #na #hope #sober #soberlife #spiritualadrenaline #centralrecoverypress #activesobermovement #soberactivemovement #recovery #recoverywarrior #recoverylifestyle #twelve steps #gsm #sobernyc #nycsober #nyc #sobernyc #nycsober #recoverynyc #nycrecovery #twelvestepsnyc #aa #na #sober #soberlife #centralrecoverypress #spiritualadrenaline #activesobermovement #soberactivemovement #sobriety #sobermovement #soberliving #cleanandsober #12steps #recoveryispodsible #alcoholicsanonymous #narcoticsanonymous

Our Relationship with Superman: In Memory of David Clark, a founder of the Sober Active Movement…

By: Rob Archuletta & Scott Strode

I’d love to tell you David Clark and I were good friends, but we weren’t.  Like many others, I stood in awe of David from the sidelines.  I watched his videos and read his Facebook posts. I first met David in 2012 when my wife Sheena was running an Ultra Marathon to benefit victims of the Aurora Colorado shooting.  David not only ran the race but won it.  Afterwards, he took the time to speak with Sheena and the rest of the Addict2Athlete team.   David shared his story with us.  The members of our team shared their stories of addiction and recovery as well.  From that point on, it became clear that we were all cut from the same cloth.  When David was attempting to break the world record for the longest treadmill run, we made Addict2Athlete t-shirts with his photo on them.

The shirt had a silhouette of David running with a Superman cape flowing behind him.  He indeed was an example of holistic recovery and unwavering dedication.  As years went on, David and I had many conversations about Veganism and Buddhism.  David was a wealth of knowledge but was always careful to say: “That’s just my opinion.”  Regardless, his words touched my soul.  I would frequently transition between being a vegan and following a paleo diet.  Every time I called him for plant-based diet pointers he would say: “Well, well, the prodigal son returns.”  Of course with a laugh and he never stopped helping.

I am a four-time Ironman, but after my fourth Ironman, I started to struggle with anxiety.  I dropped out of several races including a half and full ironman.  After a year of rest, I signed up for my fifth Ironman to honor a few friends who had passed on.  Finishing the race meant the world to me.  The night before, I was stuck with terrible anxiety and spent most of the night crying and scared.  I was going to drop out.   But just then, I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a post from David.  I was filled with envy of his fearlessness.  I reached out to him in the middle of the night asking him about anxiety.  He responded in typical calming David fashion, and told me: “I do have anxiety.  I enjoy all of it.  I try not to win internal arguments; be in the moment you’ll be fine.” I took his advice and finished the race.         

David has spoken at several Addict2Athlete events, and when I tried to help him sell books his goal was always to get books to the people who needed them rather than those who could afford them.  A hand-full of us started the active recovery movement.  Like the others, I have a vast amount of people who look to me for guidance, or at least experience strength and hope.  I am incredibly grateful to have had David to lean on. In retrospect, I now see that it seems like David was holding all of us up.  In one of the last conversations I had with David we discussed Buddhism, leadership, and recovery.  The last message David sent to me regarding recovery and leadership was: “The path is authentic communication with self through meditation and action.”  David, although I didn’t get to see you often, I already miss you.  Your teachings will live on through everyone you touched.  You truly were Superman!    

Rob Archuleta 
Co-Founder of Addict2Athlete

Rob’s words tell the story about the type of person David Clark was. I’m sure if you asked other endurance athletes and folks in recovery, you would hear a similar story of a time where David took a moment out of his life to be there to help lift others.  He always expressed the desire to do more, to help more, to carry the message of hope to even more people. 

Now we have a chance to do more for him in his memory. Please give what you can to support Davids’ family in this heartbreaking time. If David was the one here asking to help support another person in the recovery/endurance/athlete community, I’m sure he would be running 150 miles across the Mojave Desert trying to raise $20,000.00.   He would do anything to help support the family of someone he barely knew because he felt in his heart it was the right thing to do. Please, give what you can to help his family through this difficult time. 

The sober active movement certainly has lost one of our heroes.  I will miss your smile, laughter and big hugs.   But most of all, your beautiful spirit and eternal optimism.  Rest peacefully David Clark.  We will feel your energy in the moments of the marathon of life and recovery, where we all need to find the courage and strength to endure. “We Are Superman!” 

Scott Strode

National Executive Director & Founder

The Phoenix

******************

To donate to the family of Superman a/k/a David Clark, click here:: https://www.gofundme.com/f/in-memory-of-david-clark?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet

Sean Smith: American Hero, Recovery Leader: His Message of Health, Hope and Healing on Memorial Day…

Happy Memorial Day!   Here is my interview with the one and only Sean Smith.  Sean is a true American hero who has served his country on active-duty both in Kuwait and Afghanistan.   I interviewed Sean about his addiction, his recovery and his message of hope and healing to those on active duty, to service veterans and everyone in the addiction recovery. As a co-founder of ROCovery Fitness, he is a major contributor to the sober active movement.

For more information on Sean and ROCovery Fitness, visit ROCoveryfitness.org.  To support the work of ROCovery Fitness, you can donate on their website.  For more information on Spiritual Adrenaline visit spiritualadrenaline.com

#ROCoveryFitness #aa #na #sober #soberlife #spiritualadrenaline #activesobermovement #centralrecoverypress