The Joy of Exercise After Escaping AA
How are you feeling physically since escaping Alcoholics Anonymous?
Are you open to ways to help you feel better physically and emotionally? Exercise is good. Most people appreciate the importance of exercise to maintain good health for the body and its ability to reduce mental stress. Face it. If you are newly emancipated from AA, you have been traumatized. Leaving AA may have totally freed you and you may feel no residual effects.
How wonderful if you have been able to leave without the lingering stench. Perhaps, you value and enjoy your freedom, but still welcome ways to help you feel even better. I feel it is even more important for AA, NA and other 12-step-based survivors/escapees to exercise while they deprogram from 12 step physical and mental toxins.
In any event, exercise will improve your health, increase your sense of well-being; it can boost brain function and help initiate and maintain the process of reclaiming your right to think after being told not to think by AA old timers, zombies and brain-washed devotees.
The insanity of AA is not easy for all of us to shake off all of the time. Often it is gone like an old nighmare from which we have awakened. It fades and crops back up at times. Leaving AA is a process.
Exercise has been proven to provide serious mental benefits. Those who have recently escaped AA will benefit greatly by giving themselves the gift of better health and balance through daily exercise from floor exercises, light mall-walking, jogging, stair-climbing to even marathon running based on his or her own personal comfort level.
Here are some ways a bit of exercise can help you as you move forward from AA to freedom, power and good physical and mental well-being.
Reduce Stress & Forget AA Mess. Are you dealing with echoes of old AA slogans, lies and predictions of death still droning in your head? Shut it off! Get out into nature if you can or go to the gym for at least a quick 20 minutes of walking, stepping or working out in any way that works for you. Exercise cuts into stress. You can actually feel it helping your body to release stress. Exercise increases norepinephrine in your body which is a chemical your body makes when it is under stress. So, when you hear that old AA gobble-dee-goop clanging in your head, get it out by working out!
Make Your Own Happy Meds! Sure, exercise can be a pain in the ass—at first, but it is well worth pushing passed the initial pain to the gain. Your body makes its own “happy meds” in the form of endorphins which give you awesome feelings of euphoria, happiness, freedom, well-being and…wait for it…POWER! Escaping AA may cause intense feelings of depression, confusion and anxiety. Those who have left 12 step programs know all too well how horrible you can feel in the beginning. You are relieved to have escaped with your life and your mind; but it can still be a difficult or even traumatic experience. Boost your mood by getting on the move! Exercise is like a ‘magic-elixir’ that can be just as effective as antidepressant pills in its ability to help you get through depression, anxiety, stress and trauma after escaping AA—and death!
Believe in You & What You Can Do. Take back your power. You are not powerless. You have had the impressive power to leave AA, ignore your so-called sponsor, thumb your nose at the hypnotized old-timers, burn your big book of bs and connect with the power and beauty of your physical body in motion. You can do any good thing you choose to do! The self esteem you feel within yourself simply by working out as often as you can manage will help you to reconnect with your own internal sense of self-worth free from those false feelings of unworthiness that AA and its disciples sneakily seeded into you. Working out regularly will likely remind you of how awesome, sexy and powerful you really are. You do not need AA or anyone to “love you until you love yourself” because you do and you can continue to love your own hot, healthy, sweaty-ass AA-escaping self!
Restore Your Brain to THINKING. If you have spent any time in AA (or other 12 step-based cults) your brain functioning may have been affected in less than positive ways. Their push for anti-intellectualism and brain-washing is cunning, baffling and beguiling. You can battle back from AA stupidity and insanity through regular exercise and a healthy diet. Working out boosts brain building chemicals and fights against the loss of brain cells and cognitive function. Regular exercise can create new brain cells through a process called neurogenesis which improves overall brain functioning. You will value you the clarity exercise grants you more and more as you move forward and realize the damage AA may have done to your brain and thought process. Don’t worry. You can and you will regain all AA stole from you…and more!
Control the Pull to Use or Over Use Substances. When you exercise your brain releases a substance called dopamine. This chemical is something that is created by your body as a response to pleasure. Its creation can be stimulated by exercise, sex, alcohol, food or drugs. Many times people tend to use or over use substances that cause the body to create dopamine in order to get those “good feelings” that dopamine provides. Exercise can help you break bad habits around substance use or over use by allowing you to tap into your body’s miraculous ability to make you feel good all on its own! This is very beneficial as you continue to put time and space between your backside and those awful 12-stepmeeting chairs often holding miserable souls commiserating over addiction issues usually to no or little avail. Your own dopamine will help you a hell of a lot more than sitting around listening to those dopes.
Give Yourself a Break. Nothing feels greater or more relaxing that kicking off your shoes and relaxing after a nice walk or workout. When you exercise regularly you will be granted the gift of easy naps and restful sleep. You will likely notice that any need for sleeping pills or night caps will greatly diminish without some abusive, haughty AA sponsor criticizing you and making you feel guilty for needing help to relax and sleep. Most of us 12-step survivors can relate to the fact that insomnia can be a beast to wrestle with. We don’t need criticism; we need sleep, damn it! My ex sponsor told me that my lack of sleep would not kill me and that she knew of a woman who could not sleep for 3 weeks after entering the program. “It didn’t kill her, “she said snidely. The utterly un-empathetic bat basically advised me to drink warm milk and suck it up until it passed. (AA-holes really seem to feel that there is some redeeming quality to undue suffering for newcomers.) Seriously, regular exercise does wonders to diminish any difficulties you may have in relaxing, napping or sleeping…so give yourself a break!
Working out can have positive effects far beyond the gym (and beach season). Gaining self-confidence, getting out of a funk, and even thinking smarter are some of the motivations to take time for exercise on a regular basis. Regular exercise has so many positive benefits for everyone –especially those for us who have finally managed to escape AA. We need all the help and positivity we can get as we deprogram from the stifling regimen of propaganda, brain-washing, abuse, manipulation and butt-ache from sitting in crappy chairs guzzling sugar and caffeine.
Exercise has literally been a life saver for me. I enjoy getting out in cool or warm weather to connect with nature and just move my body as I work to embrace whole thoughts, sane thinking and true serenity in my life. I cannot recommend you doing this for yourself strongly enough.
Just ask this wonderful lady! http://youtu.be/o-50GjySwew (And yes, laughter is good medicine and good exercise too! :-D)