monkey off my back

One guy's experiences as he quits drinking

Running out of excuses

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I’m trying to increase my physical activity – for general health, emotional wellbeing and yeah, a bit of vanity (ummm so I can fit in my pants). I’m hoping that it will help me to shake off my post-acute withdrawal symptoms (anxiety, crankiness, flat mood, low libido etc). Things are improving but I’ll be happy if I can make them go faster.

For the last few years I’ve gone through massive exercise periods. I’ve run marathons, half-marathons and done months of gruelling training before events. Things I know about running and exercise:

  1. Once I’ve taken a few weeks or months off, I really don’t feel like starting again.
  2. I lose condition really quickly when I stop exercising (but I know it also comes back quickly).
  3. If I wait until I feel like exercising, I’ll be waiting a looooong time. So I just have to make a start.
  4. The more I exercise, the more I want to do it.

So with those things in mind, I recently set myself weekly exercise targets. First I aimed for three exercise sessions in a week (keep it realistic). Then last week I aimed for four.

This week I will probably also do four sessions… Although if I feel like five, I might just do that.

I can already feel a slight glimmer of exercise enjoyment. It’s just a little spark, but I’ll keep nurturing it until it becomes a habit and something I look forward to.

I’m also going to focus on a mix of types of exercise. In addition to running, I’ll try and do some gym /strength work and maybe bike riding.

I think I overdid running for the last few years. It was almost like punishment, a form of weight management (use up booze calories) and an attempt to be super fit in other areas of my life to counteract the damage I was doing with booze.

In a way, being sober has removed some (negative) motivation to run. Near my house there is a hill which I used to be able to run up. During my runs I’ve tried to push myself to run up the hill – and each time I say “ahhh fuck it – I’ll try it tomorrow”.

My exercise challenge is to find a way to push myself without being chased by the fear of booze.

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