Getting grounded at the Magic Hedge in Chicago

Vigorous Walks for Sobriety

Some of the strategies and tactics I used to get sober ended up being fundamental underpinnings in my life. Walking was the first one of those and I stumbled onto it out of sheer desperation.

In my first few months of attempting to get sober I was plagued with urges to drink, all day, every day. It was an exhausting time to be sure and I just barely got through it, thanks in large part to vigorous walks.

Whenever possible, I took a walk along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront when I experienced an urge to drink alcohol. My main walk was only 1.5 miles but that was long enough for me to address the urge. Each time I concluded a walk not only was the urge to drink gone, but I had new energy and my head felt clearer.

Within 6 months I had lost 30 pounds, 240 to 210, without any dietary or exercise changes. Without these walks, I would be either dead or drunk now. Please don’t underestimate the importance of this tactic. Since I started my walking regimen almost 30 years ago, there are now a plethora of books on the subject and I’ll include several here with Amazon links.

Walking was my very first sobriety tactic.

It then became a health tactic.

And a meditation tactic.



with Henry David Thoreau

How to Walk

with Thich Nhat Hanh


A History of Women Walking

In Praise of Walking

by Shane O’Mara

52 ways to walk

We think we know how to walk. After all, walking is one of the very first skills we learn. But many of us are stuck in our walking routines, forever walking in the same place, in the same way, for the same time, with the same people. With its thought-provoking and evidence-backed weekly walk routine, 52 Ways to Walk will encourage everyone to improve how they walk, while also encouraging them to seek out new locations (many on their own doorsteps), new walking companions (our brains age better when we mix up our fellow walkers), new times of the day and night, and new skills to acquire while walking.