Walking and alcoholismHaving spent most of my life racing from one point to another, it’s nice now to be able to slow things down a bit and enjoy the simpler things in life and give my mind a chance to heal.

I used to laugh at the idea that walking not only helps keep you fit but also helps with depression and addiction recovery.

But now I am taking walks regularly and it really does help.

‘Something as simple as going for a brisk stroll could play an important role in fighting depression, according to researchers in Scotland.

There is a park nearby to where I live. It has a boating lake, a wooded area and a large playing field. It’s quite a large area so one circuit of the whole park plus the walk there and back, whilst not a marathon, is a reasonable distance.

The first time I tried it I was absolutely exhausted and had t take frequent breaks on the way around. My three months in hospital with no walking at all had rendered me unfit even by my standards. So much so that even a short walk was sending pains down the backs of my legs as my muscles complained about the unusual activity.

Walking and alcoholismPerseverance has paid off though. On most days, I now enjoy a walk of at least one circuit of the park and on some days, several and I am feeling fitter, I’m starting to lose my beer belly and my mind is feeling much clearer.

I’m also taking the time on my walks to just sit and be quiet. My favourite park bench is tucked away at the far end of the park, away from the noise of any traffic, and I can just sit calmly and enjoy my surroundings in a way I never could have done when I was drinking.

So now, if I feel a low mood coming on or the urge to drink becoming strong again, I take a walk to my park bench. It takes an effort sometimes to start the walk but, once I’m there in the peace and quiet, if I sit long enough watching the swans and the ducks and letting the world carry on around me, I begin to calm down again and things just don’t seem so bad.