Multiple day programming for addiction recovery/mental health? Multiple day programming for addiction recovery/mental health? - Page 2

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Thread: Multiple day programming for addiction recovery/mental health?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2019
    Posts
    7

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    I appreciate the response, TommyGun, and I've seen plenty of addicts go nuts on exercise or whatever other positive activity they've chosen. However I'm following the direct advice of a number of professionals I've been working with or have worked with (a family practice MD, a psychiatrist, and three different licensed alcohol and drug addiction counselors), which is "exercise daily to mitigate the effects of post acute withdrawal.*"

    Now frankly 7 days a week was a challenge even just doing cardio. I also talked with two of the LADCs about incorporating strength training into the routine and both encouraged me to try it, once I was fairly settled.

    Which is what I did, starting first with two days a week of essentially the Starting Strength novice workouts. I quickly went to 3 days, by-the-book, because it was obvious that I wasn't going to get any consistent strength gains from just 2 days.

    Once I started doing the program as intended I tried to eliminate the rest of the cardio workouts but that proved to be a bad idea overall. Which is how, through professional advice and thoughtful experimentation, I came to the conclusion that keeping strength training in my routine *is* beneficial, but only broadly sustainable (for now) with 2 to 3 days of other workouts. Which is why I came here to look for advice on how to make that work.

    *Post acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) are a chronic, predictable group of symptoms that occur throughout early recovery (peaking around 6 months) and then intermittently after. It's a combo of neurological damage due to longterm use, and the psycho-social stress of coping with life without using. They include: inability to think clearly, memory problems, emotional overreaction or numbness, sleep disturbances, physical balance and coordination problems, and stress sensitivity. (Paraphrased from Staying Sober: A Guide for Relapse Prevention. Gorski/ Miller, pp 57-59). Gorski was one of the first seriously to study the abstinence phase of addiction and really highlighted the critical importance of managing PAWS. (AA certainly recognizes it too..."stinking thinking" and "dry drunk" are descriptions of PAWS).

    Gorski's advice on exercise (within a larger framework of strategies):
    "Many recovering people will testify to the value of exercise in reducing the intensity of PAW symptoms. After they exercise they feel much better, find it easier to concentrate and remember, and are able to be more productive...we recommend that recovering people make time for it every day because of its value in reducing stress." (Staying Sober, p. 76).

    I suspect, based on Dr. Puder's article and the podcast he did with Rip (don't have the links in front of me as I'm on mobile), that strength training may actually support longer term, more permanent changes in brain and nervous system function than just cardio. So I'm pretty committed to giving it a shot, and hopefully in a few months or a year or two the cumulative benefits of strength training and sobriety will mean I don't have to bust my ass every day.


    So, based on personal medical/professional advice, along with both scholarly and anecdotal evidence, and my own direct experience, I'm going to continue exercising 6 days a week, and I'm going to do my best to base that around strength training.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Kingwood TX
    Posts
    8,879

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    I think you are making the correct decision here.

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