After a long walk in the redwoods with a good friend yesterday, I took my son to the coast, which is a half hour away from home. This time of year is ideal for sunshine and clear skies here on the west coast of California. We went to a beach we had never been to before, and I was surprised to discover that we had to practically scoot down a cliff to get to the ocean. The path was being used by surfers with big boards, so I wasn’t afraid to trust we’d make it to the bottom. We were hands-free after all, which meant that we could bend our knees and lean to the side of the cliff that wasn’t a drop off, in order to survive the climb down (or I should say, slide down…). It was a little bit treacherous, especially because my son didn’t have any grip on his shoes. Going back up was a lot easier, and steep, but it felt so amazing to have the blazing sun on my shoulders as we made our way to the top. I hike often, so it was not a difficult climb for me. In fact, it felt amazing, and I was thinking how feeling good sober, is five thousand times better than feeling good drunk, or stoned, or high.
Our bodies are so complex and easily manipulated. In December I was feeling incredibly “off” and blamed it on outside circumstances, just to discover that all I needed was a little bit of vitamin D (or ten minutes of sunlight) and some magnesium to rebalance everything. First I made the mistake of going to a doctor, who prescribed me two heavy medications. The bottles are still full. I don’t know why I even bothered to pick up the scripts. We have got to know deep down inside, that taking pills is completely unnatural. What we eat, what we expose ourselves too, how we think, and how well we exercise, determines how we feel. If you are feeling shitty, it could be the bad day at work, or it could very well be that your diet is not balanced. It is most likely the latter.
That steep walk up the cliff, along with the sunlight and the negative ions from the ocean, gave me enough energy to go grocery shopping afterward, cook two separate dinners (I’m vegan – my children are not), do two loads of laundry, fold all the clothes, prepare for Monday, clean up the kitchen, and then some… Ask me what my Sunday afternoon looked like five years ago, and I would tell you I could barely get out of bed after two days of drinking.
Feeling “off” is usually a chemical or nutritional imbalance. If you are eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep, along with sunlight, minerals and vitamins, there is no throwing you off in the face of adversity. Our bodies are organic vehicles that need to be kept tuned up and well watered. We have more control about how we feel than we credit ourselves. If you are sick and feeling awful most of the time, the problem is most likely your diet. Just like a car, we need to constantly tune ourselves up, and take care of ourselves. People are not depressed because they have a miserable life. They are depressed because they are malnourished. We have terrible eating habits in the west, and it’s been proven over and over that a plant based diet prevents cancer, heart disease and tons of other ailments.
Our bodies are meant to function at a “feel good” level. If we feel good, we can accomplish more, overcome problems with ease, give more of ourselves to others, and enjoy life to the fullest. Taking care of my mind and body has been essential in my recovery. If I was stuffing myself with food instead of alcohol, I could not honestly say that I was living a life of recovery.
I’ve had to make several life changes in order to accomplish what I set out to do when I decided to get sober. It wasn’t about “not drinking.” It was about living life and enjoying the hell out of it without a drink. Sometimes I have to re-evaluate my diet and exercise routine. Often I have to rid myself of pressures in my life that throw me off. It’s a constant tuning in and tuning up, but there is nothing like being able to climb a cliff without wheezing, or having the energy to conquer a hundred things in a day while feeling amazing. Taking responsibility for yourself includes a lot more than just admitting your mistakes. It is about keeping your vehicle tuned up and knowing that how you feel is a direct result of how you nurture your body and mind. And just like sobriety, you don’t have to change everything all at once. You can do it one fabulous day at a time!