Gratitude as an Exercise

Since March of this year I have become a fitness coach working alongside of some of my favorite life coaches I’m thankful to have.  Over the past 5 years I have become involved in the fitness industry as, what most would say, a committed class attendee.  When I first started working out in North Carolina with my Aunt, life long mentor, coach, and friend, I realized how much “moving” made me feel alive.  I was a pretty consistent studio student while working 40 hours at a restaurant and attending college full time.  This existed for a good part of three years until I moved to Raleigh after finding a good “post grad” career working at a call center and living with a few young professionals.  I was obsessed with work and drinking alcohol 3-4 nights a week and got back into the whole “I don’t have time for the gym right now, I’m focused on my career!”  Which involved sitting at a desk and placing orders via CRM for 8+ hours a day.  I became immobile.
For about 7 months.
During this time my drinking became heavier during those 3-4 nights rather than consistent.  Like it mattered… Being an alcoholic really gives you the thoughts like “I can control it- I didn’t drink last night, did I?” “I CAN just have one.. See?” “Just because I drank all day Saturday doesn’t mean I need help. I haven’t drank all week- I deserve to relax.”  We become so entitled to the fact that alcohol is a friend we can welcome whenever we’re in the mood.  I’m able to drink, I deserve it.
In the earlier part of 2017, I still had this mind set.  I was working long  hours in a beautiful city that I rarely enjoyed and becoming more entitled to drinking however I wanted because I was still going to work, paying my bills, and keeping my life in order.  The gym happened about 1-2 times a week and my health was the last thing on my priority list.  I was eating heavy foods and drinking heavy becasue I was now a young professional in her 30’s that has her life in order.
On the outside.
The drinking and eating and working at a desk was killing me.  I was missing community, healthy community, that I have experienced in my life and i was keeping myself so busy with work that I didn’t bother to build friendships around me.  I had few friends at work and my roommates were great companions so I didn’t see the point of having anyone else.  My boyfriend lived in Ohio and we would visit each other as we could for the few months I lived in North Carolina.  He was catching on to the depression I was living in.  I wanted to be with him but my love for “proving myself to others” was the top priority every day.  I was blinded by the fuzzy vision of the drinks every day feeling like I had to prove to everyone that I was “going to make it in the big city and be successful.”  I didn’t realize that my love for alcohol kept me trapped in thinking that I already had it all when I really was alone! I was drowning in liquid obsession and trying to present to the world someone I never truly meant to become.
Or wanted to be..
Knowing I needed a major change in my life my family came together and brought me home.  Even against my will!! I knew I needed help getting back to a place where I felt comfortable with myself and confident in my own skin and regain my purpose in my life.  Without money driving me mad and without thinking alcohol was the best medicine to cure the lonelieness, I needed something extream to get be back on track.
A hard reset.
In my journey home, I started working out 4 consistent times a week again with my best friend, sister and coach, getting professional help, and growing a support group around me to help me keep busy and remind me that EVERYTHING will be okay.  Filled with embarrassment, guilt, shame and humiliation, I had a lot to recover from and focus on.  I am someone who wants to know, in detail, the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How to every situation, I was completely in the dark with ONLY the next step AND I had to be okay with that…
It was the most difficult first few months back.  Every day had it’s own challenge.  Every day had it’s ups and downs but every day was one day further from the last day I drank alcohol.
Every day became more clear.
Encouragement came back to me.
Hope was restored.
Determination was something I believed in again.
Believing in myself, my dreams, my goals was ACTUALLY something I had back in my own hands.
For four months I was finding help from Catalyst Life Services and Recovery Center in my home town that I will forever be grateful for.  It’s because I was giving them a chance, and giving MYSELF a chance, to make things in my life different.  I believe in these services and centers and know that when people are open for a change, these facilities are available.  There are rehab facilities that cost a FORTUNE and I wasn’t able to afford that!! With the insurance I had, these recovery facilities are affordable for people who want help.  REALLY WANT HELP!
I wanted it.
I wanted it so bad every bone in my body was craving recovery. I wanted my life back.  I was sick of having times where alcohol gave me set backs that took me months to bounce back from and when I did I would mess up again.  I needed the tools, encouragement, and endurance to break free of my lust of alcohol.
I was over it.
And this is my story.  My success story.  The story I didn’t mean to write when I started this post but what it has turned into may be something someone around you may be going through.  Or you’re going through.  Or you may have to step up one day, like my family did, and do something for someone close to you.
I am FILLED with a grateful heart of how far I’ve come.  The summer of 2017 I was making $80 a week and somehow paid my bills while “working on myself”.  Looking back now I couldn’t have imagined what the price of it would be if I didn’t make a change.  Now I’m making WELL over $80/week, I’m coaching at my home gym, running a residential cleaning business, mentoring a small group of women going through what I’ve gone through, and feeling on TOP of the world.  I will never be able to financially pay back those who have helped me but the truth is – They don’t want their money back.. They just wanted ME back!  And knowing that keeps me going.  Not only do they have me back but I have ME back.
I have bounced back.
I exercise regularly. I move weights.  I run.  I do jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups, burpees, chest presses, squats.
I exercise gratitude, joy, love, patience, kindness, meditation, regularly.
I couldn’t be more grateful for how far I’ve come in one year.  For this reason I am competing in a CrossFit competition tomorrow that is raising money and awareness for a Recovery Facility in Medina, Ohio.  I’m not that great at CrossFit but because I believe that there are others like me out there, that need help and WANT it, I am going to support and make a fool of myself.  I’m supporting a good cause and taking a stand for the lost, the hopeless, the embarrassed, the guilty and saying “You can get through it and come out alive!” “You can make a life for yourself after you hit rock bottom.”
With every Wall Ball I throw I’m standing for encouragement.
With every Clean and Jerk I do tomorrow I’m standing for hope.
With every Assault Bike calorie I burn I’m standing for determination.
I believe there are others out there like me and I stand for them.
“By succeeding your battles, you win the war.”  – Nikki Hendershott

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