Outside Issues: Diet and Nutrition
We take on a lot in early recovery. Pretty much everything about our lifestyle changes. We have new things to do like attending meetings and working the 12 Steps. We have a whole new community of friends in the recovery fellowship. We find fun new ways to spend our time sober and reinforce the joy of our life in recovery. But there is one area of our lives that isn’t mentioned frequently in the recovery literature: our physical health. While everything changes for the better in early recovery, we don’t pay much attention to our physical health. Just by being abstinent from substances, our health has already improved greatly! So of course, we don’t think too much about it. But perhaps there are some things we should consider about this often overlooked area of our lives in recovery.
Recovery and Health
The 12-Steps and the recovery literature don’t say much about our physical health at all. The recovery lifestyle is one of spiritual action and service. There are no guidelines for bodily health — that area is left entirely to us. That’s why we consider it an “outside issue,” because it’s not exactly crucial for our recovery. We can go vegan or eat cheeseburgers. It doesn’t matter as long as we work the 12 Steps, attend meetings, and be of service to others. But something interesting is mentioned in the “Doctor’s Opinion” at the beginning of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. It says that any picture of the alcoholic that leaves out the bodily component is incomplete. This refers to the physical allergy that we alcoholics and addicts experience when we take mind-altering substances of any kind. But it got us thinking: what if any recovery that ignores the physical component is also incomplete?
In recovery, everything begins to change for the better. We learn how to improve in every area of our lives. We’re better at work, at home, and with friends and family. Life is just better all around, and continued work in the 12 Steps keeps us learning and improving every day. It’s a wonderful way to live. But we may be selling ourselves short by not embracing this positive momentum holistically. It’s not necessary or realistic to think that getting six-pack abs has anything to do with recovery. It doesn’t. But in recovery, we learn how to care for ourselves and others and how to truly participate in all facets of our lives. With this mindset, we can’t exactly ignore our physical health either.
It’s not necessarily bad for our recovery to eat junk food. In fact, in early recovery, a lot of people find that it helps with jitters! But as we grow more stable in recovery, we may be hurting ourselves by continuing to ignore our health. In every other way, recovery helps us get healthier. Are we selling ourselves short if we let our bodies get weak and achy? Are we selling our recovery short if we don’t pay attention to how we feed and care for our bodies? It has long been held that a healthy body breeds a healthy mind, which paves the way for a healthy spirit. Now that sounds a lot like what recovery is all about.
It’s not necessary to exercise or eat healthy to have a beautiful life in recovery. But as we grow in recovery and progress in our lives, we may want to begin to pay attention to how we take care of ourselves. After all, the better we care for our bodies, the longer we’ll be around to enjoy life in recovery.
Diet and Nutrition
If we decide that our physical health is something we want to pay attention to, it’s best to start at the beginning. If we’ve spent years abusing our bodies in the disease, we might not want to jump on a treadmill and try to run 30 miles or slap 300-pound weights on a bench press and go full beast mode. We’d probably injure ourselves. So, we start at the beginning: diet and nutrition.
What we put into our bodies determines the quality of our output. If we don’t get proper nutrition, our bodies can’t do their best work. There are many lifestyle choices that say their idea of a proper diet is the best one: carnivore, vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, keto, etc. There are a lot of choices out there. The style of diet we choose matters less than making sure we get the things our body needs to function its best. Vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and yes, even carbs, all have a vital role to play in how our body works. We need to pay attention to our bodies, evaluate our lifestyles, and embark on whatever course will help us feel and do our best.
Every “Body” Is Different
We all have some basic needs that are the same across the human species. For example, we all need food and water. But every person’s physical body has different requirements. If we’re very active we may need more protein and carbs, while someone who is sedentary may need more vitamins and healthy fats. Carbs provide energy for activity, while healthy fats are good for the brain. With so much information out there, we need to do our research and pay attention to how our body feels. We may just find that giving a little attention to our diet and nutrition adds a whole new layer of health and improvement to our recovery!
Jaywalker Lodge fully believes in holistic health. Even more importantly, we believe that a healthy life begins with a whole, healthy, and happy recovery. Life in recovery wouldn’t be worth much if it weren’t filled with joy and purpose. Jaywalker Lodge knows that everyone deserves happiness, and that includes alcoholics and addicts like us. The road to this wonderful way of living is found in the 12 Steps, and that’s where Jaywalker Lodge sets its foundation. But from there, we take a holistic approach to recovery and healing, and a big part of that is dietary and nutritional health. We don’t ignore these areas at Jaywalker Lodge. We serve healthy foods and teach nutrition and cooking skills to the men who come to us. Healthy, family-style meals are also a part of regular life at the Lodge. If you’re ready and willing to begin your recovery, Jaywalker Lodge will help you start out on the right foot. Call us now at (866) 529-9255.