Working with people 1-on-1 in the professional recovery field typically brings to mind a counselor, a nurse, or a doctor of some kind. Thank God for those individuals who work in those positions, I know they’ve saved my ass more than once, and quite frankly are a large reason why I’m even simply alive today.
I strongly feel that those are not the only people doing work in the field of recovery on a 1-on-1 basis.
I think that sometimes we limit those who qualify as working in the professional recovery field in our minds to those three career paths, and those three career paths only; when in reality there is a large array of career paths working hard to make a difference in the recovery of many addicts and alcoholics, no matter what their addiction may be to (i.e. drugs, sex, gambling, food, etc.).
It’s been brought to my attention recently that I may qualify as one of those who are indirectly working to make a difference in people’s recovery process.
At first I disagreed, then after some reflection and talking with clients it turns out I, like many other people, can be classified as working with people 1-on-1 in the recovery field.
So what the hell is it that I do?
Well, I recently quit my corporate America job and opened a workout studio in my garage named “One Rep at a Time,” where I work at training people with weights. Almost every single one of my clients are in recovery.
I know that is quite the jump to make, claiming that I work with people 1-on-1 in the recovery field, so let me explain.
With my line of work, I see that most of the time physical health is the last to be addressed in our new clean and sober lives. The desperate desire to want to simply stop using or drinking or eating or gambling or whatever it is we are struggling from is so strong in the beginning, that as a newcomer, abstinence is all we care about.
We work like hell to abstain from our “suicidal weapon of choice” in the beginning, then after some time and success with doing so, we hopefully then turn to restoring our mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Our physical health is often not addressed in the beginning because at times it seems like the least of our worries. And, hell if we can just make it another day without relapsing we’ll be ok. Right?
So yes, I agree that this is the right course of action to take when someone is a Newcomer. But what do you think?
Now I know that sounds odd, since I am attempting to make my living helping recovering people restore their physical health, but I feel this way for a reason.
Our “suicidal weapons of choice” are but a symptom of something far deeper, something that exists in our mental, emotional, and most importantly spiritual lives. And while there should not be a blatant attempt to worsen our physical health, that deeper unresolved issue should be “attacked first” if we are going to have any chance to truly recover. Without doing so, any period of abstinence will surely be followed by a relapse and a possibly worse outcome than what we were facing before coming into recovery.
Therefore, I say put all of your effort into identifying and resolving the issues that led you become addicted to escaping from your reality through whatever vice you were using to do so. Once this issue has begun to be worked on, then I feel the physical healing and rebuilding should start to take place too.
This is where I and “One Rep at a Time” come into play, and where I work with the individual in a 1-on-1 basis to restore their physical health.
In “One Rep at a Time” this is where I get to coach an individual through the pitfalls and dangers that those of us who are in recovery face when it comes to fitness and restoring our physical health that just aren’t often times present in the “Normie population.” This is where I get to share my experience, strength, and hope when it comes to repairing and rebuilding their physical health.
I’ve been involved with fitness and the physical health field either individually or professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was when I was in my disease, therefore I have made a lot of poor choices over the years. They’re poor choices that I can now shed some light on to my clients in hopes that they too don’t make the same choices; so their physical health improvements only strengthen the changes they’ve made in all other aspects of their lives.
This includes the obvious use of less-than-ideal substances or supplements, but also not assigning a false sense of morality to their food choices or physiques, while avoiding having their physical health become their new addiction or sole sense of identity, obsessing over their physical health to where it becomes the most important things in their lives. Or, simply identifying their weak areas as well as adapting to any permanent physical challenges that may or may not be the result of their years of addiction. That list can be added onto, but you get the picture…
While that comprises a brief list of the potential pitfalls we face, the list of the positive outcomes as a result of taking charge of our physical health is even more endless.
I don’t know about you, but when I came into recovery I had nothing close to resembling self-esteem or self-confidence. Working on and improving our physical health and well-being and seeing the results of all our hard work is the ultimate confidence booster. I can’t tell you how many times my clients in recovery make the statement, “I’m walking “taller” these days, I carry my chin higher, I find myself with better posture.”
Now sure that comes as a result of proper training, but the inner confidence that comes as a result of lifting that personal record, or dropping all those pant or dress sizes, or being able to keep up with their kids on “play day” has far more to do with that than any instruction I give.
Working on repairing and rebuilding our physical health greatly impacts our sense of well-being as a result of improved energy, endurance, confidence, and ability. This directly translates to our mental health, which in turn improves our emotional stability, which in turn impacts our spiritual condition.
I like to say:
“If you feel you good physically you tend to think positive mentally which makes you more emotionally stable and ultimately spiritually fitter.”
Physical exercise also has a phenomenal potential for becoming a form of meditation. I and many of my clients after months of hard work, find themselves to be “off” if they haven’t been exercising routinely. They say praying is talking to the God of your choice, and meditation is listening to that God. With all the non-stop barrage of media and advertisements, and the fast-pace of modern life in general, it’s easy to forget how important meditation is. Exercise can become that new avenue of meditation for my recovery clients.
That key fact is the basis of why addressing our physical health is so crucial to the recovery process. So, not only am I teaching my clients how to exercise and eat properly, but I am showing them first-hand how their physical health can impact all areas of their life for the better.
In real time I get to see them become more sure of themselves and as a result, more driven in their recovery to live that life beyond their wildest dreams.
It is such a blessing and it gives me goosebumps every single time!
As in all service work, it is not just a one-way street. My recovery too benefits as a result of working with my clients.
Not only do I get to hang out with recovering individuals and ultimately friends each and every day, I get to know deep down I am making a difference. And I get to see their smiles, their tears, and ultimately their growth and it makes me feel good about what I am doing.
Being of service does something for my spirit that I never could find on my own before, and “One Rep at a Time” has me doing so on a daily basis.
Am I becoming rich running “One Rep at a Time?”
Am I making a difference running “One Rep at a Time?”
And that means far more to me than any amount of cash or fancy materialistic nonsense.
I’m working with others 1-on-1 to improve their recovery, to improve their quality of life and that’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, I just didn’t know how I was going to do it.
Today I know.
Today I am.
One day at a time.
One set at a time.
One Rep at a Time.
-Today's guest blog comes to you from Marv, from "One Rep at a Time." Marv has been clean and 100% sober since June 22, 2013! Here's Marv saying hello! Wishing your recovery well:
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