Barnes has the toned, muscular physique of a personal trainer – a role he relishes, along with his work as a nutrition expert, sober companion and certified recovery coach. It’s a remarkable transformation for a man who was once bedridden and suicidal – addicted to Oxycodone, drinking hard liquor all day.
“I’m extremely grateful that I’m alive and healthy,” Barnes says. “I used to drink to feel differently about something that caused me pain. Now when pain comes, I embrace it as an opportunity to grow, gain strength and perspective – or possibly help another person struggling with similar pain.”
A holistic rehab stay set Barnes on the path to recovery – and a passion for helping others get healthy. “My life purpose is to inspire others to live a sober lifestyle,” he says.PreviousNext
At my worst, I was:
Suicidal, overweight, bedridden, in severe pain, and always alone.
What worked for me:
60 days at a life-changing, holistic rehab. I came to the realization that all of the events in my life that I once considered to be “bad” were actually perfect – and happened at the appointed time for my absolute and maximum benefit. I realized that I no longer wanted drugs or alcohol in my life because they would cause me to avoid feeling what I was meant to see and feel.
Rules I live by:
I choose to be happy. Fitness and nutrition are critical to recovery. Trust in the Universe, it doesn’t make mistakes. The opposite of addiction is connection so I connect daily with happy, healthy, positive people.
Advice to my younger self:
Travel abroad more. Love can wait. Don’t ignore red flags in people. Avoid casinos, volunteer more, read more self-help books.
What I value most in recovery:
My health, my relationships with friends/family, my sanity, my clarity, my freedom.
On my bucket list:
Help as many people as possible overcome their addiction and live a happy, meaningful, purpose driven life through my Sober Coaching business.
On my schedule today:
Work out hard. Focus on maintaining a healthy diet. I try to practice a random act of kindness every day. Volunteer work. Every day is game day when you’re an addict so I do things each and every day that help me look, feel, and be my best.
How I get through the holidays:
I surround myself with good friends, family, and enjoy eating everything placed in front of me. I try to think of the countless other people who are far less fortune and I try and empathize with what they are going through in their life. It keeps me grounded and extremely grateful. Volunteer work is a great way to keep things in perspective during the holidays.
When I came home from rehab and hugged my son at the airport. I knew I could finally be the father he wanted and deserved me to be.
On helping others:
Sobriety is a gift that is meant to be shared with others who are still struggling. If you get sober, so what? True recovery happens when you show another addict empathy and help them find their pathway to recovery.
Best advice for newbies:
Tell yourself that NOTHING and NO ONE are above your sobriety. Stop playing the victim role, someone will always have it better/worse than you. Be grateful for everything you have in your life. GET IN THE DAMN GYM (hire a personal trainer)! Start eating healthy (no processed, fried, sugary foods). Cut out ANYONE that is not supportive of your recovery.
Volunteer at an organization whose purpose means something to you (children, vets, animals, domestic, etc). Surround yourself with happy, healthy, people. Engage in hobbies you enjoy that you lost touch with during your addiction. Practice self-care, self-care, and more self-care (massages, acupuncture, facials, fitness, yoga, etc). You are NOT powerless over drugs and alcohol! You are in 100% control of your behaviors, choices, and thoughts.
Follow Barnes at http://sobercoaching.com; on Facebook @sobercoaching.aaron and on Instagram @sobercoaching_aaron
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If you’re a person in long-term recovery who wants to share your insights, please contact us at [email protected].