The benefits of the lifestyle go well beyond aerobic fitness

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Joshua Sortino on Unsplash

I roll out of bed on a frigid January morning. It’s still dark. I throw on my running gear with extra layers, gloves, and a beanie. There’s frost on the ground. I can see my warm breath as I step outside and get hit by the wall of cold.

This is not an environment I enjoy. My body screams its desire to go back inside and hibernate through winter. But I press on into the dark air, steady my pace and breath, and am soon serene.

Like most runners, I run because it’s good for my physical health. But what gets me out into the cold on mornings like these is not my desire for visible abs or a healthy heart. …


Sentence simplifying tips that keep readers focused on your message

Woman writing on blank journal page with a black pen
Woman writing on blank journal page with a black pen
Photo by Timothy L Brock on Unsplash

Bad writing is most noticeable at the sentence level. Every clunky phrase and confusing clause rings out like a broken kazoo. The quickest way to repel readers is to write poorly constructed sentences. No matter how good the idea is, the message gets lost if you serve it up in a word salad.

As a teacher, I’ve seen my share of cringy writing from students. But there is no shortage of equally bad writing on the professional level, and it’s rampant online. …


The extent of its financial impact may surprise you

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Lukas from Pexels

We all know that heavy alcohol addiction can ruin someone’s health, and that includes financial health. A severe alcoholic will spend their last dime chasing a high that will never be enough. They will neglect bills and rack up debt so they can continue to drink. In some cases the damage is so bad that they end up homeless, begging for change to buy rotgut vodka and stave away withdrawal.

But that’s probably not your situation. Nevertheless, you don’t have to be an alcoholic to suffer from alcohol’s financial impact. Even if you consider yourself a social drinker, someone who can take it or leave it, regular alcohol use can still leave a dent in your bank account in ways you may not realize. Indeed, it’s often the hidden or indirect costs of alcohol that truly drain our wallets. …


When you learn to stop escaping life, you will find it is much richer

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Zachary Kadolph on Unsplash

We all wish we could mentally check out some days. Sometimes days run together without excitement. The minutiae of everyday life, all the little tasks that must be done to keep ourselves fed, clothed, and safe from the elements are often exhausting. Then there are the major events that cause us additional pain and uncertainty: a broken-down vehicle, sudden unemployment, a nasty breakup. With so many responsibilities, stresses, and disappointments, is it any wonder that humans enjoy the escape that drugs and alcohol can temporarily provide?

Why we like to escape

The human brain is an amazing organ. It has allowed us to do incredible things that no other animal could. But the brain has its drawbacks. It has no off switch, for one. We are often plagued by unpleasant thoughts and feelings that are all too tempting to run away from. Many of us learn in adolescence that drugs and alcohol do a decent job of turning down the noise of daily life, allowing us to focus on other things or focus on nothing at all. They are a quick and easy fix, making them all the more seductive. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Burst from Pexels

Some alcoholics hit rock bottom at terminal velocity. There’s no question that drinking ruins everything good in their life. They lose jobs, relationships, health, even their sanity. For these drinkers, dire consequences present an ultimatum: get sober or find an early grave.

Many others, however, never hit rock bottom at all. In fact, the drinkers described above represent a small minority of problem drinkers. The real danger of alcohol abuse resides in what I call gray area drinking. Sometimes called high-functioning alcoholics, these drinkers can avoid the most devastating consequences of their addiction. They maintain employment, keep relationships afloat, and avoid legal trouble. That does not mean they are free from the consequences of alcohol, it’s just a slower slide into the trap of addiction. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Oladimeji Ajegbile from Pexels

“Live life one day at a time” is arguably the most commonly used recovery mantra. You hear it all the time. It’s in the recovery literature. It’s in movies. It’s stitched into decorative throw pillows and slapped on coffee mugs. But what does it actually mean? Perhaps a better question: does living this way help at all, or is it just another platitude devoid of any practical use?

The unending present moment

The concept of living life one day at a time is not new. Alcoholics Anonymous didn’t coin the phrase, though they did popularize it. ODAAT has been taught as a spiritual concept for thousands of years. Jesus told his followers: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own (Matthew 6:34, NIV). It’s a central teaching of Zen Buddhism and the essence of meditation and yoga. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Belle Co from Pexels

Sobriety is having a moment. More people, from celebrities to business owners to your neighbor down the street, are stepping out of the shadows to claim sobriety. You probably know at least one proud sober person. And while it’s far from the cultural norm, sobriety today is less a mark of shame and more a badge of honor. It’s here to stay.

The tide is turning on alcohol

Whenever I watch movies that depict life in the early to mid 20th century, I am always fascinated to see how pervasive smoking used to be. People smoked in offices and public buildings, on airplanes and buses, in front of young children. Smoking was so entrenched in society that non-smokers had no choice but to put up with secondhand smoke. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Ava Sol on Unsplash

I am not a religious person. I don’t subscribe to a lot of woo-woo thinking. But I do believe spirituality is available to everyone, regardless of belief system. Spirituality is about finding purpose and meaning beyond material things. It’s the search for the greater good in life. Belief in God is not required.

There are a lot of ways to tap into the spiritual realm, to make that connection with the divine and find inner peace. Writing is one way to practice spirituality. …


It’s simple but not easy

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Luca Nardone from Pexels

One idea that almost everyone in recovery circles can agree on is that “forever” and “never” are dangerous words. “One day at a time” is such a widespread mantra because “I’ll never drink again” scares the ever-living daylights out of most people — and it’s often a lie.

The sad reality is there is no way to know if your last drink will actually be your last drink. Relapse is incredibly common. That sucks. And yet, many do find lifelong recovery. You aren’t doomed to failure, but there’s no guarantee for success either.

You can, however, greatly increase your odds of maintaining sobriety. In my opinion, the best way to prevent relapse is to fundamentally change the way you think about alcohol. …


Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels

Motivation is one of those buzzwords that has become synonymous with success in business and personal growth. Want to make your dreams come true? It’s time to get motivated! Sound familiar? People pay big bucks for books and courses on how to find and maintain motivation. Managers seek out training on how to best motivate employees. A cursory Google search is all you need to confirm — motivation is a thriving industry.

I always believed motivation was critical to getting things done. Without it, how could I ever finish college or learn a new language or make lots of money? …

About

Mike Ryan

Freelance writer and teacher based in Lafayette, LA. Learn more at openwellwriting.com and picklewisdom.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store