A nutrition and exercise based lifestyle that is practiced along with the twelve steps of recovery.
Spiritual Adrenaline

This Alcoholic Spends January 1st at the Gym

Two years ago, I realized I had a drinking problem. I was spinning my 10 year-old daughter around while she was on my shoulders, with one arm holding her legs and the other holding my holiday favorite – a nice glass of Southern Comfort. Thanks to her dear old Dad’s lack of balance, she ended up banging her hand on the wall. Her reaction as she giggled was: “Daddy, you drink too much”.

My reasons for drinking were probably not uncommon; it was an escape from reality; it was an escape from boredom; and it made a general feeling of disappointment briefly go away. Still, it was clear two years ago – just before New Year’s Day – I had to make a change.

In order to stop drinking permanently and keep a new year’s resolution, I needed an outlet that could fulfill the three needs that drew me toward alcohol and oddly enough, that outlet turned out to be exercise.

After a few trips to the gym, I realized that if I performed exercises that I liked, I was not bored. If I pushed my body to its limits, I could escape reality and, best of all, I found it difficult to feel a sense of disappointment after my blood pressure went from “high” to “normal” and I lost 6 inches on my waist with just a few months of replacing drinking with exercising.

The repetitive routine of drinking also seemed very similar to the repetitive routine of exercise.   In order to feel high from booze, I generally had to drink more and more just like when I try to lift a little more weight or run a little faster each time I exercise. My brain seems happy now and at 46 years of age, my body is in the best shape of its life.

Despite not drinking for the last two years and continuing to exercise four times a week, like many of you out there who have a drinking problem, I find the holidays are an especially difficult time. At this time of year, just about everywhere you look, there’s booze. The SAQs (facilities run by the government in Canada) are packed and open late for business, the grocery stores have cases of beer lined up as soon as you enter them, there are endless ads on television showing sexy people lubricated with alcohol and just about any party you attend at this time of year is filled with copious amounts of liquor.

Alcohol, if not promoted at this time of year, is certainly a more than socially acceptable way to get high and perhaps that needs to change.

Even if the time comes when booze ads are outlawed just as cigarette ads are, and we open our eyes and realize that nothing good ever came from drinking, I will continue to wake up early on January 1st each year and find a gym that’s open so I can feel good about myself instead of being hung-over.

I hope you start your New Year in a healthy and sober way.  Happy New Year to All.

We profiled Nathan Friedland of Montreal, Quebec, as a Spiritual Adrenaline Inspiration back in April 2016.

Sustainable Resolutions Guide – Start, and Maintain a Sober Year.

SUSTAINABLE RESOLUTIONS

FOR PEOPLE IN RECOVERY

According to Forbes Magazine, just 8% of people who make a resolution keep it.  Most, break their resolutions in the first two weeks of the New Year. Here is a list of the most popular resolutions for last year:

  • Lose weight
  • Get organized
  • Spend less, save more
  • Enjoy life to the fullest
  • Stay fit and healthy
  • Learn something exciting
  • Quit smoking
  • Help others achieve their dreams
  • Fall in love
  • Spend more time with family

Although these resolutions are based upon people in the general population, it is likely that many people in recovery share these goals.

So Why Do So Many People Fail?

The problem with these resolutions is they go to the end game without a strategy to get there.   In other words you really need to have a plan, both short-term and long-term, to lose weight and keep it off, quit smoking or stay fit and healthy.   Rather than have such broad and sweeping resolutions, what worked for me, and I think may work for you, is to have the long-term goal in mind, but break it down into manageable subgroups, and really focus on making progress, baby-step by baby-step.  By focusing on the micro-level and succeeding, we are better able to gain the self-confidence necessary to ultimately achieve our desired end result.  No coach goes into a game without a strategy and, given that your quality of life is at stake here, neither should you.

Recovery-Based Resolutions

The list of last year’s top ten resolutions involve a lot of issues we address at Spiritual Adrenaline: lose weight; stay fit and healthy; quit smoking; etc.  Rather than incredibly broad resolutions, I recommend breaking down your resolution into smaller, more realistic goals and doing everything possible to achieve this realistic resolution.  Once you achieve it, you can set another and keep going.

For example, if you are looking to quit smoking you need to develop a plan to address “triggers” that lead you to smoke.  For me, that was coming and going from buildings.  When I was about to enter or leave a building, I would chew a nicotine lozenge to avoid lighting up.   Once I broke the habit of smoking coming and going from buildings, then I addressed not smoking in my car, etc.   It was the smaller victories along the way that ultimately enabled me to quit smoking.   It all starts somewhere and the smaller victories along the way build the self-confidence needed to ultimately win the war.

In the movie “What About Bob,” Bill Murray repeated the mantra “baby steps” over and over.   In early recovery, I adopted that mantra for most things.  It was incredibly important for me to stop self-defeating and self-sabotage and instead focus on getting out of my own way and being my own best friend.

Here are some achievable resolutions that will enhance your recovery and can start you down the road toward major change.  I picked one for each of the major areas we focus on here at Spiritual Adrenaline.

Recovery Nutrition:

Replace processed sugar and sweeteners with a natural sweetener:   Diabetes and hyperglycemia are a major issue for people in recovery.  The percentage of people in recovery with these conditions is well above the general population; according to some studies, as high as 93%.  These conditions often make it much more challenging to stay sober as fluctuation in blood sugar levels dramatically alters mood and energy levels.  Moreover, many people in recovery, especially alcoholics, have compromised liver function.   If this applies to you, your liver may not be able to break down high-fructose corn syrup and other processed sweeteners.   High-fructose corn syrup is quite common, and often the main sweetener in candy, ice cream and many other products.   Over time, high-fructose corn syrup builds up in the liver causing a whole set of other health-related problems.   By replacing processed sweeteners with natural sweeteners, you take a major step forward in diet modification and a healthier you.

Recovery Exercise:

Walk At Least A Mile A Day:  Move a muscle, change a thought.  It is undisputed that cardiovascular exercise will help burn calories, help lower cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and enhance production of brain chemicals and hormones that lift your mood.   A mile a day is not a long distance at all, and this resolution should be an easy lift for most folks.   It can also be the first step towards incorporating exercise into your daily routine, which is a must if we seek to enhance our changes of long-term success in recovery.   Once you get comfortable with the mile, you can always go a little further, and then a little further.  However, we all must start somewhere.

You can measure your mile the old-fashioned way, by actually measuring the length to and from certain locations or by driving the route ahead of time.  There are countless gadgets and apps that will do it for you.   So there is no reason not to give it a try.  For folks in recovery, this is a great time to meditate, go over a gratitude list in their head, call a loved one or just enjoy nature.  If you tend to isolate yourself and have a history of doing so while you were using, invite someone to join you.  Maybe you can walk to and from a meeting together.

For people trying to quit smoking, cardiovascular activity is of great importance.  Most people who smoke tend to engage in limited activity.  The longer you smoke, the less you tend to move, as even minimal movement can be challenging for a smoker, especially those with lung diseases or other smoking-related health issues.   When you engage in cardio, you force your lungs to work.   By doing this, you can feel the impact of smoking on your lungs and their ability to provide you with oxygen.    I can tell you this first hand because this was true for me.  After heavy cardio, I would have great difficulty breathing and my lungs hurt.  It convinced me that it was a behavior that could not continue. By incorporating exercise and proper nutrition into your lifestyle along with like-minded people (i.e., non-smokers), smoking becomes less and less acceptable and appealing.

Smoking Cessation:

Inventory The Times You Smoke and Make At Least One Change To Your Routine:  Sit down and figure out the times of day you smoke, and commit to erasing at least one. When I smoked, I was lighting up when I went in and out of buildings, hanging around the front of twelve-step meetings with the smoking crowd, in my car when I was driving, and in my apartment at night.  When I committed to stop, I changed the ways I went to and from work to avoid places where smokers congregated and where I traditionally lit up a cigarette. I changed my meetings, went later and/or left early to avoid smokers, pulled over as opposed to permitting myself to smoke in my car, and left my cigarettes in the mailbox at night so I did not have them available to smoke in my apartment.

Breaking these types of habits and routines in the context of smoking is huge.  The habits are what perpetuate the addiction.  By changing them, you change the neurological associations and cravings in your brain, and take a huge leap towards kicking the habit.    It all starts by inventorying your smoking and developing a battle plan.   One victory and change in the routine will give you the confidence to keep going and not give up.

Recovery Vitamins, Minerals and Hormones:

Eat Something Green Every Day:  It sounds so simple but you would be surprised how many people do not eat green vegetables on a daily basis.  Green leafy veggies are our best friends for so many reasons.  First, they are not carb-heavy vegetables, so if we are looking to lean down, they enhance that goal.  Second, they do not contain substances that convert to sugar or glucose in the digestion process.  This is incredibly important given the disproportionate number of people in recovery with diabetes and hyperglycemia.   Third, leafy green vegetables pack the most nutrients per calorie than any other food group.   Greens contain significant amounts of Vitamins A, C, E, K and several of the B vitamins.  In addition, they are rich in calcium, magnesium, iron and potassium.     As people in recovery, our bodies are often used to calorie-rich, nutrient-deficient foods, chief among them candy and alcohol.   The benefits of eating something green everyday will pay off exponentially as you will be restoring the building blocks necessary to meet your body’s needs and proper brain chemistry.

If you eat some greens every day, you won’t have to worry about the recommended servings per week, as you’ll easily exceed them.  In case you were wondering, the USDA recommends three servings of leafy greens each week.

Recovery Spirituality:

This is a tough category because the issue of “spirituality” is so subjective. So in this category I will give you three suggestions:

Establish A Morning Self-Care Practice:  How we start the day sets the tone for the rest of the day.  A morning self-care practice establishes you and your recovery as the priority and the absolute first thing that gets your attention in the morning.   This need not be a lengthy, highly formal practice.  Set aside 5 minutes every morning to reflect on gratitude, your goals for the day, or whatever else you would like to focus on.  Use this time to reflect inward, towards your soul, and be driven by your needs.  Not the needs of others, clients, significant others, family or any other person, place or thing.   Enjoy your 5 minutes of solitude and stay in gratitude.  A person who stays in gratitude will not drink or use drugs.

Journal About Your Feelings:  Feelings are not facts and putting them down in black and white is an incredibly powerful experience in many ways.  Oftentimes, when I write down how I am feeling, it makes it unmistakably clear that what is happening in my head is absolutely ridiculous.  By writing down my feelings or, as I sometimes refer to them – the “chaos in my head,” I gain perspective. Journaling also grounds me in reality, makes me think about how my brain processes people, places and things, and makes it easier to share with a sponsor or friend at a later time.   A journal need not be War and Peace, but rather a few sentences, at the beginning, during or end of the day.

Reach Out to Someone and Just Say Thanks or Hello:  Once a week, biweekly or monthly, chose someone who is important in your life, someone you have not connected with for a while, and say thanks or hello.   Let them know how and why they impacted your life and that you care about them.  These types of random acts of kindness will lift your spirit as well as that of the person to whom you are reaching out.   We are all so busy these days that often the only time we communicate with people we care about is when some terrible event happens, such as an unexpected death.  Have no regrets, seize the day and reach out and say thanks.

Pick up a copy of Spiritual Adrenaline for More Resolution Ideas!!!

If you are looking for lots of ideas on how you can supercharge your recovery in 2020, pick up a copy of my book, Spiritual Adrenaline: A Lifestyle Plan to Strengthen & Nourish Your Recovery.  It’s full of helpful tools you can integrate into your lifestyle right away to achieve your dreams.  

We wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy and sober 2020.  We would love your feedback on this and other blog posts.     We hope you’ll remain an active part of the Spiritual Adrenaline community in 2020!!!!!

My First Sober Christmas

Diana R. of Maine celebrating the holidays

This post was originally published in December 2017: If you were to ask me what I thought my life would look like at 19 when I was 10 I would’ve probably said, having lots and lots of friends, my own car, in college, having fun and earning money. What I know now is that my dreams then, seemed so simple to accomplish, yet the smallest things nowadays are the hardest to achieve, especially for the young woman I am today who is an alcoholic and drug addict.

I brought myself to my rock bottom in high school and lost everything I had my senior year. My family disowned me, I ended up in jail, quit my job because of my use, and was hopping from couch to couch calling home wherever I laid my head. Woke up every morning wishing I hadn’t, contemplating who I was and who I wanted to become, but with no motivation or hope, all my fantasies of being happy was slowly diminishing by the day.

In May I was sent to a rehab facility for 6 months in Maine with 5 other girls. I struggled tremendously in the beginning, but I slowly came to my senses that I genuinely needed the help and there’s no other place I would be able to receive the support than where I was. By the middle of my stay, I was excelling in areas I never would’ve thought I would be able to prior to going there. I left with a clear mind and the real Diana that has been hidden for all this time.

Nowadays I am beyond grateful for life itself. I am grateful to wake up everyday sober and to have an opportunity to be reborn. The holidays are very special to me because it’s a time for celebration and love. Families come together, life is cherished, songs are sung, and this beautiful time of the year shows us what true appreciation for who we are as human beings walking this Earth. The last couple of years, the holidays have not been the best in my favor because of the poor decisions I was making that led to me spending most holidays alone. The excitement and joy that I obtain to be able to be in a loving home with wonderful people on such important dates fills my soul with nourishment to the point where it’s not even explainable.

I used to take life as a joke and have such low spirits to the point where nobody wanted to be around me. It took hard work and dedication to wanting to change, but it is absolutely possible to switch up thought processing. Yoga, cardio, weight lifting, meditation, art all play a huge part of my recovery. I am especially thankful to have these activities that I enjoy doing to be able to keep me sober and safe. It is so important to take care of the body because it is so precious.Spread acts of kindness during this season and the good that you put out, will certainly come back to you in a positive way. Love yourself and do things that make you happy and you yourself will see a difference. We are put on this planet to make a difference, each of us for different reasons, so go out and reach your fullest potential and show the world what you’re made of. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all, may peace and love fill your soul.

– Diana R.

Holiday Dessert Guide

Holiday Dessert Guide

Be Smarter About The Sweets You Eat

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

 

 

People eating a pie and drinking cranberry compote

 

 

A gentleman I used to know described the holidays as “hurricane season” for people in recovery. First it’s Thanksgiving, then Christmas or Hanukkah, then New Year’s Eve. Society often defines these celebrations by eating and drinking to excess, rather than true nature of the holiday, gratitude, and giving thanks for all of our blessings. All the reveling can be really challenging for someone new to recovery or even those with substantial time. When you add family to the mix, it can be overwhelming, exhausting, and put many at the risk of relapse. It’s important to stay close to the program during the holidays and find time for meetings, your sponsor, and positive relationships. It’s even more important to remain in a state of gratitude, which is after all what the holidays are all about.

What we eat during the stress of the holidays can have a major impact on our attitude, mood, and energy levels. Food is comprised of substances, some of which enhance our recovery while others undercut it. Foods high in sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or other cheap fillers and caffeine and fats (the bad kind); can make you feel awful and put your sobriety at risk. It is important for alcoholics, addicts and anyone who is looking to break free of dependence on any substance to understand that alcohol metabolizes in the body as glucose, and is very similar, on a chemical level, to carbs and sugar from candy, ice cream, and other high-carb foods. Drugs similarly have a negative impact on the body and both alcoholics and addicts tend to use caffeine and/or sugar for energy depleted by the cycle of abuse. This is a major concern as it can lead to cravings and increased risk of relapse.

That’s the problem, but what’s the solution. I am not telling you that you cannot eat sweets for the holiday; I am telling you that it’s important to be smart about what you and I eat.   If you’re interested in learning ways to get the same sweetness and great taste but with far less refined sugar, check out my book Spiritual Adrenaline: A Lifestyle Plan to Strengthen & Nourish Your Recovery, http://www.spiritualadrenaline.com.

I teamed up with Melanie Albert, an Intuitive Cooking Expert, founder of Experience Nutrition and the Author of the new book A New View of Healthy Eating, to come up with healthy holiday treats that aren’t just delicious, but are also good for you. Melanie is amazing. She came up with five holiday treats made of all natural ingredients, high in healthy fats and low on the glycemic index so they will help you avoid sugar highs and then a crash. More importantly, they are delicious.

You can watch Melanie make the treats by clicking on the videos below.

Aromatic Apple Crisp with Freshly Ground Spices

 

 


 

For full recipe instructions check out Melanie’s website:

Aromatic Apple Crisp Recipe

 

Chocolate Sweet Potato Brownie

 

 


 

For full recipe instructions check out Melanie’s website:

Chocolate Sweet Potato Brownie

 

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

 

 


 

For full recipe instructions check out Melanie’s website:

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

 

Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie (Soy)

 

 


 

For full recipe instructions check out Melanie’s website:

Vegan Chocolate Cream Pie

 

Fruit Sorbet – Holiday Treats That Won’t Spike Your Blood Sugar

 

 


 

For full recipe instructions check out Melanie’s website:

Fruit Sorbet

These treats are delicious and will enhance, rather than undercut, your recovery by providing you with energy through healthy fats rather than sugar or caffeine. They taste delicious and won’t spike your blood sugar. The best part is you can eat more of the healthy stuff than the fattening unhealthy stuff and it tastes just as good. For more helpful information on how your diet can impact your sobriety, visit our recovery nutrition section.

For more delicious healthy recipes, visit Melanie’s website and buy her book A New View of Healthy Eating.

Happy holidays from everyone here at Spiritual Adrenaline.

Mike Foley and Foley Fitness: Integration of exercise and nutrition into your recovery…

On December 1, 2019,  a state of the art 27,000 square foot Foley’s Fitness opens right outside of  Portland, in the State of Maine.  Opening his own gym has been Mike’s life-long dream.  He worked hard and it finally came true.  To celebrate the grand opening, here’s a video I taped with Mike some years back.  Mike has 28-years of experience in coaching people as a personal trainer and sports nutritionist.   Mike discusses the how bringing structure into the lives of those in early recovery can be a much needed lifestyle change.  He goes on to talk about how developing a relationship with exercise and fitness can be a ongoing positive reinforcement for those in recovery.   If you are interested in learning more about Mike, check out his website http://www.foleysfitnesscenter.com.  I write about Mike  in my book, Spiritual Adrenaline: A Lifestyle Plan to Strengthen & Nourish Your Recovery.  You can learn more about my book at http://www.spiritualadrenaline.com.   Congratulations Mike!!!  Dreams do come true!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Twelve Steps & Ending Dickish Behavior….

Dr. Mark Borg is the author of a provocative new book, Don’t Be A Dick! The book looks at the underlying reasons people behave badly and offers a roadmap for change through inventories, journals and other hands on tools. This is the final interview in a five part series with Dr. Borg. In this episode, I discuss how and why the Twelve Steps can play a role in ending dickish behavior. If you are interested in learning more, visit http://www.centralrecoverypress.com.

Fructose, Glucose & Your Liver…

Not all sugars break down in your liver similarly…..

Fructose, Glucose & Your Liver

            In Spiritual Adrenaline: A Lifestyle Plan to Strengthen & Nourish Your Recovery, I focus on liver disease given the prevalence of this disease in the addiction recovery community.   I leave treatment to medical professionals and instead focus on nutrition and lifestyle.   In Spiritual Adrenaline, there’s an entire section for people with comprised liver function, liver disease or for those looking to engage in self-care to help their liver heal.   See Ch. 3, pgs. 30-34, Ch. 9, pgs. 88-98, 122.  An October 2019 study looked at how different types of sugars breakdown in the liver.  Here’s some updated information that you can use to empower yourself on the path to health, hope and healing.

Not All Sugars Are Equal


            Traditional nutritional recommendations did not distinguish between fructose and glucose, and how each impacts your liver.   It was generally accepted that both impacted the liver in the same way.  That turns out not to be true in people consuming a high-fat, Western style diet.   In a 2019 study at Harvard Medical School, researchers fed rats a high-fat, Western style diet.   They then divided the rats into two groups:  One was fed high amounts of glucose and the other high amounts of fructose (both ate the high-fat Western style diet).  The addition of sugars was intended to mimic sugary drinks like soda.  The researchers found that large amounts of fructose disrupted liver function in ways that are detrimental, while glucose can improve liver function.  The researchers found “fructose makes the liver accumulate fat” while “adding glucose promoted the liver’s ability to burn fat, and, therefore make for a healthier metabolism”.  How can you use this cutting-edge science to benefit your long-term health in recovery, help repair damage caused by years of substance abuse and enable you to make conscious contact with your body?

Cover of Spiritual Adrenaline

The Spiritual Adrenaline Solution

            Among the recommendations in Spiritual Adrenaline is to learn nutritional basics that can help you make educated choices in what you eat.  For example, the differences between fructose, glucose and sucrose and how each impacts your body.  This is critical for people in addiction recovery given the number of people in recovery with Type 2 Diabetes and Hypoglycemia.   In Spiritual Adrenaline, recommend: avoiding juicing and explain why; provide recommendations for alternative sweeteners to make it easier to avoid refined sugar and high-fructose corn syrup; provide detailed lists of complex carbs which break down into sugars during digestion much more slowly; and, provide a 7-day detox to help wean you off refined sugar, high-fructose corn syrup and other junk carbs that increase inflammation and cause liver damage over time.    For more information on how the Spiritual Adrenaline lifestyle can benefit you, visit www.spiritualadrenaline.com.

Citation:  Softic, S., Meyer, J.G., Wang, GX, Schilling, B., Cohen, D.E., Dietary Sugars Alter Hepatic Fatty Acid Oxidation via Transcriptional and Post-translational Modifications of Mitchondrial Proteins, Cell Metabolism,  Vol.30, Issue 4, pgs 735-753, Oct. 1, 2019.

Are You A Dick? Take the Dick Quiz….

Here’s my second interview with Dr. Mark Borg, the author of a provocative new book entitled “Don’t Be A Dick, Change Your Mind, Change Your World”. You can watch the interview below or on the blog at www.spiritualadrenaline.com. If you want to purchase his book, it’s available at Barnes & Noble, on Amazon or at the Central Recovery Press website: www.centralrecoverypress.com. Central Recovery PressMark B Borg Jr….


Why Meditation Can Eliminate The Destructive Forces of Stress

shutterstock_381784540Just like our computer has an operating system, and everything relies upon the functionality of that system, we also have an operating system in our brain. Sometimes, we have to reboot the computer due to a glitch, virus or some other problem. Other times you need to upgrade the operating system so the computer can continue to run smoothly.

Think of meditation as an upgrade to your brain’s operating system. Studies prove that by practicing meditation regularly, we rewire the way our brain processes information, and how we react to people, places and things in our everyday life. One of the slogans at twelve step meetings is “Think Differently,”with the “Think” upside down. Science has proven that we can in fact change the way our brain operates, and really think differently.

Meditation was originally an ancient Buddhist technique designed to quiet the “monkey mind.” Buddhist sutras teach that without the ability to quiet the mind, it is not possible to bring an end to actual or perceived suffering and move closer to enlightenment. Fast forward to the present where meditation has adapted these teachings for the modern world. The goal of meditation is to stay in the present, and simply notice feelings and thoughts, as they come and go.

Here is the undisputed evidence of the benefits of a regular meditation practice:

Less Fear: MRI scans prove that after an eight-week course of mindfulness, study participants’ fight or flight center (the amygdala), the primal region of the brain that handles our most basic instincts, appeared to shrink. This area of the brain is associated with fear and emotion, and is responsible for our response to stress. The degree of change was directly correlated to the number of hours of practice.

Less Pain: Researchers studied the reaction of experienced meditators to painful stimuli. The studies showed that the more experienced and committed meditators reported less pain in response to the stimuli. Even though participants reported feeling less pain, scans of their brains showed the same or more brain activity in the pain centers. So according to their brain function, they experienced the same degree of pain, but experienced less pain. Researchers attribute this to the meditators’ ability to exercise control, or become “uncoupled” in the anterior and cingulate cortex regions of the brain.

Feeling Zen: Even when not meditating, experienced meditators’ brains’ default, or baseline function, was substantially different than that of non-practitioners. Their brains functioned at the same level of non-practitioners when the non-practitioner’s were meditating. The researchers characterized this as the continuing state of “zen,” the result of years of experience and training in meditation.

My Experience

There is no dispute that meditation works. Science has confirmed the benefits that practitioners have enjoyed for thousands of years.

Cover of Spiritual Adrenaline

When I first started meditating four years ago, I could not sit still for ten minutes. My monkey mind was all over the place – thinking about the past, the future, and everywhere in the present other than where my physical body was located.

I was never really present. In early recovery I smoked which made meditation and being present all the more difficult. Nicotine was an enemy because I always wanted a cigarette. I would have constant thoughts about whether I could sneak out of wherever I was to have a smoke. I was also constantly “craving” the smoke, so I was unable to stay in the present and enjoy.

I struggled through meditation, but over time, was able to focus for 20 minutes, then 30, then 45, and then more. Currently, I can meditate for about an hour. When I am under stress, even ten minutes is difficult, but I force myself to stay planted and focus. This helps to calm my mind, and move me past the stress. For the most part, I am able to rein in my “monkey mind.” Quitting smoking really made this easier.

I am still a beginner, and I do not really like meditation. It makes me feel uncomfortable. That’s exactly why I force myself to do it.

The Spiritual Adrenaline Solution

In my book, Spiritual Adrenaline: A Lifestyle Plant to Strengthen & Nourish Your Recovery, I include lots of variations for simple meditations you can do in the privacy of your own home.  I also include evidence-based research  confirming the short and long-term benefits of mediation.  Check out Chapter 11, pages 162–181 to learn how to integrate mediation into your daily life.  I’ve got mediations you can do while cooking, eating meals, attending twelve step meetings and exercise.  I’ve also included a full body mediation that refocuses you back on your own health and helps you make conscious contact with your own body.   For more information on my book, visit http://www.spiritualadrenaline.com.

Recommended Reading for Beginners: Meditation for Beginners, Jack Kornfeld, The Power of Now, A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, Echart Tolle.

We would love your feedback on this and other blogs. Shoot us an email or short video to: blog@spiritualadrenaline.com.