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Are you Running to, or Running Away from Recovery?

Amy Cooper
| February 21, 2018

As advocacy for addiction and mental health grows, benefit runs and walks to help recovery and mental health treatment also grow. I personally picked up running about four years ago. I know for me, once I start pounding the pavement, my mental psych starts to clear, and I can actually put ideas and thoughts together. I can also rationalize my problematic thoughts and stop the “future tripping” that goes on inside my brain when I run. I also recognize that I get a little squirrely if I have not exercised in a few days. Yes, our sobriety depends on our ability to stop drugging and drinking, but those are just symptoms of the real issues.

Getting healthy after abusing our body for a long time is a struggle for most of us. I recall hiring a personal trainer and then not showing more than half the time when I was in active addiction. I didn’t care.

I would be hungover from bottles of wine or a pint of liquor from the previous night and would feel like crap, so I would scramble for an excuse and call (praying that my trainer wouldn’t answer the phone), so I could leave a message. He stopped actually picking up the phone after that happened several times and told me a few years later he knew what I was doing.

I believe our bodies are a temple, a gift from God, and we should take care of them. When we are given another chance to live and be sober, it is up to us to handle our body, mind, and soul with kid gloves. More times than not, we find we want to eat everything with sugar in it during early recovery. From soft bread, to Swedish fish candy, to the cake and pizza rolls– it’s our bodies’ way of craving and subconsciously replacing the “feel good” brain sensations that we got when we drank or drugged.

There is a lot involved when we decide to get sober. It can take up to two years for our bodies to repair. Scary sometimes, isn’t it? It was for me in the beginning, because I wanted everything to be right, not ‘right now’, but last week. I am still one that seeks immediate gratification, but I am a work in progress, thank You, Lord.

Our lives can be defined as the race of a lifetime– one that is not accomplished in a 5k, 6k, or 13.1k race, but a true marathon every year we stay sober. Training for a marathon is not a one-time deal. It consists of daily discipline, training, and perseverance. Training for a marathon is about eating right, doing the proper exercises, and building up endurance. Training for daily sobriety is about meditation, meetings, and helping others out.

When we make the decision to train for a marathon, more than likely we will make a visit to our doctor to see if we are physically prepared for it. When we make the decision to choose sobriety, it may mean we spend 7-10 days of medical stabilization to help us physically to start this new way of life. For the next 30-90 days, so many changes will take place in training for that marathon. New skills with a regimented schedule allow us to see changes in ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually.

When getting sober, the first 90 days come with huge changes. Whether we choose residential treatment, outpatient treatment, or meetings, the first 90 days are very critical. This is where the fog starts to lift in our brain and our bodies often try to fight the changes all the way around.

Both a marathon and sobriety will change us in every way we can imagine. Both will produce POSITIVE changes, they will each take diligence and commitment from our inner self. The beauty in both is there is always a positive outcome. It is very important to remember you have no competition except for self and if you follow instructions on how to do both, you WILL succeed. Running toward recovery is not always easy, but in the end of the daily finish line, you will not regret what you started!

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