Loving Pahrump!

What a great town! In four short months, we have met so many nice people, so many who want to help others and so many supportive of our mission.

As many of you know, we’re opening sober living soon – and will be starting with Pahrump’s first women’s sober living house. Click the SOBER LIVING tab above for more information.

We also attended our first Chamber of Commerce and City event: The 2018 Balloon Festival.

Watch for more information and press in the coming weeks!


Visit Living Free Health & Fitness on www.pahrump.biz

Fitness in Recovery

Exercise is one of the best things recovering addicts can do to avoid relapse and build a healthy lifestyle, asserts author, licensed clinician, master addiction counselor and certified fitness trainer Rochelle “Shelley” Poerio.

“It’s not widely known, but recovering addicts reap greater benefits from exercise programs than the average person,” Poerio asserts.  “They experience even more dramatic improvements in their lives.  Exercise is a perfect way to help restore the physical health, and mental and emotional discipline, they need to become and remain productive members of society.”

Poerio, a former captain of the Stanford University women’s track team and the author of “Rebalancing the Addictive Mind: Beating Addiction with Exercise and Nutrition” (Amazon.com) offers these tips on the best ways to begin an exercise program you can stick with:

Start Safe.  See your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to exercise. Learn to stretch, warm up and cool down before and after exercise.  This may sound obvious, but so many people fail to do it, end up hurting themselves, and end their fitness plan as soon as it starts.

Do Anything.  The best exercise is the one you want to do. It doesn’t matter what, as long as you pick something that interests you and do it.  If you don’t like to exercise, try “stealth exercise” — things like ping-pong, air hockey, foosball or a simple game of catch.  They get you up and moving, and that’s the point.

Set “SMART” Goals.  Your exercise plan is useless if you don’t do it regularlySo make your goals “smart.”

Specific and measurable Make yourself accountable to precise days and times. For example, decide to walk for 20 minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Attainable.  Exercise with a small “e.”  Don’t try to run a mile if you can only run 50 yards.  Instead, run 50 yards and build up from there.

Relevant or reasonable. Don’t compare “out” to what others can do, or what you think you should be able to do.  Instead compare in to your own abilities.  Set a realistic schedule that you can keep, and goals that you can reach.

Time-framed.  This means “today.”  Focus on what you’re doing today, and the progress you’re making — however small — today, and tomorrow will take care of itself.

Make it Social.  Addictions start to really take hold, and relapses often happen, when you isolate yourself from others.  So whatever exercise you choose — even an “individual” activity like running or hiking — do it with others.   This not only provides company and support, but strengthens responsibility and commitment. You’ll be more likely to show up every time, because you won’t want to let your friends or team down.

Write It Down.  Record how you felt before and after exercise.  Track how much weight you lose, how much your blood pressure improves, how much less insulin you’re using.  Digital bracelets and other new technology are great ways to measure how many steps you took or calories you burned.  Write all this down in an exercise diary.  It only takes a couple minutes, and it’s a great way to maintain your enthusiasm and motivation.

Be “Mindful.”  Use exercise to take your mind off your problems, the future, even your goals.  Let your swim, your basketball game, your gym workout be a way to stay “in the moment, ” and experience the beauty and value of simply being alive.


Shelley, herself in recovery since Sept. 5, 2001, enjoys gym workouts and hiking in the canyons and hills near her Pahrump home.   “Call it  ‘mindfulness,’ ‘spirituality,’ ‘meditation,’ whatever, exercise is a perfect opportunity to regain the sense of perspective and humility that you lack when you’re addicted,” she says.  “When I’m out in the desert, I realize how small I am compared to my surroundings. I appreciate that I no longer have the exaggerated sense of self-importance and disregard for others that I had when I drank and used.  And I’m grateful for the healthy lifestyle I’ve achieved and continue to nurture.”

My Recovery Weight Loss Story

This personal experience was perhaps the biggest motivator behind writing my book, “Rebalancing the Addictive Mind: Beating Addiction with Exercise and Nutrition”.

When I exited hospital detox September 10, 2001, I weighed 20 pounds over my healthy weight. Not age-25 weight. Not collegiate-athlete weight. Healthy, average, 40-year old woman weight. From there, over the next four months, I gained an additional 40 pounds!

Finally, my doctor said “Hey, you know what? You’re now officially obese. I know you’re trying to stay clean and sober, and I wasn’t worried about weight gain initially. Unfortunately your blood pressure is way up. You need to do something about this. Here’s the number for a dietitian. Call her.”

I did feel fat. I was fat! But somehow I really hadn’t noticed it (or was in denial) because I felt so good about the fact that I was actually staying clean and sober – and felt that maybe I was getting a little bit better each and every day.

What was happening?

Well, in hindsight, it’s pretty simple to see. Not only was all the sugar and fat I was eating helping to satisfy drug and alcohol cravings, but I was eating to my feelings! In spite of the fact that I felt better in some ways, I still felt terrible about myself in many other ways. Little did I know that my eating habits were like pouring gasoline on a fire of mood swings, racing thoughts, irritability and fatigue …and, of course, cardiovascular disease.

The strange thing about all that was this: my over-eating and bingeing on bags of candy and chocolate reminded me of that last vestige of sanity before I went over the cliff into addiction. Remember that moment when your sane brain said “Hey, this drinking/drug usage has crossed a line. This is no longer normal partying/using”? And your addictive brain responded, “F-U, I’ll do what I want!”?

So, I went to see the dietician. And immediately felt overwhelmed by her advice. Maybe I wasn’t listening. Or maybe I heard what I expected to hear. I simply felt that what she was telling me to do way too much all at once.

Why? Food had become my security blanket. I had just given up drugs and alcohol. I needed something. And darn it! I had earned that! (Anyone recognize the addictive and impulsive thinking here?)

That’s why, in the book, I emphasize the importance of changing our diets in recovery, but making small, incremental changes based upon the Small Wins SM approach.

Maintain a long-term outlook. But make small changes in the short-run. Set realistic, attainable goals. It shouldn’t be too easy. But it shouldn’t be too hard, either.

My first step in losing  60+ total pounds was stopping the Gummi Bears. I still over-ate other foods and chocolate. But this was a process — progress, not perfection. The key point was that I had become aware that my eating choices had become problematic both to my physical health and to my recovery. It was up to me to take responsibility for the change that needed to take place. Incidentally, it took me two years to lose the weight. And I did so by removing some foods from my diet, substituting for others, and introducing light, then moderate, exercise into my lifestyle.

And I won’t lie and say it’s not something I need to watch to this day. And my weight has bounced +/- 10 pounds at various times in recovery. But that’s who I am. I can’t do certain things like other “normal” people. I also can’t run anymore because of arthritis in my knee. I can choose to complain and make excuses, or I can choose to take full responsibility, make the necessary adjustments, and live life on life’s terms. I chose the latter. So should you.


Update – Fall 2017 Fundraiser

Good News!

Day 31 of our fundraiser to support the Las Vegas Rescue Mission with quality education and fitness programming….and

A gentleman who wishes to remain anonymous clicked our DONATE PAGE and made a $2,500 gift to help us not only meet our Rescue Mission programming goal, but to get us started in our soon-to-be-announced, much-needed programming in  Pahrump, Nevada.


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Plus the additional $1,450 to launch our work in Pahrump.












Remember, this is what we do. This is the impact we have.

Please consider helping us grow our donor base! You can make a secure, fast, easy TAX-DEDUCTIBLE gift, today!





Las Vegas Rescue Mission Fundraiser!

We Need Your Help!

The Las Vegas Rescue Mission does a fabulous job of helping those who have run out of options. Not only does the Mission serve more than 1,000 meals per day, it provides safety and shelter for men, women, and women with children.

In addition, the Rescue Mission has a state-certified addiction rehabilitation program that serves up to 130 men and women – FOR FREE!

That’s right. Free treatment, room and board!

And all of this with ZERO government  grant monies.

The Rescue Mission needs support from the community.

It needs YOUR support!

Living Free Health & Fitness is shepherding a fundraising effort to directly, 100% benefit the Las Vegas Rescue Mission’s Addiction Rehabilitation Program.


$3,000 “tipping point” goal

  •  Delivers 12 new courseware modules and 36 hours of clinical groups and training through end of 2017.

$12,000 “stretch” goal

  • Extends the education, skills-building and lifestyle training through 2018!

Sponsor a module and training for $250! (Click for more info)

  • Donate ANY amount you can give. It is appreciated tremendously and will go toward meeting our goals.




 LEARN MORE about the impact we have made thus far in 2017 at the Las Vegas Rescue Mission!

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