Many of us look at fitness like a chore. The sweat, the pain, the lack of instant results: it can be pretty disheartening.
When it comes to addiction and substance abuse disorders, what causes us pain can often be eradicated instantaneously. That easy fix, in the form of a substance or a harmful behavior, distracts us from being the best version of ourselves.
Let’s face it: sobriety and fitness are rather similar. They both require us to be a better version of ourselves. They demand accountability and long-term perseverance, and they require a strong support network.
In this post, we’ll share two examples of people who went the distance to get in shape and remain sober. Notably, they made a connection between what keeps us sober and what keeps us fit: a sense of honor.
When Louise decided to quit drinking, she felt like she was sinking. She had an emotional, mental, and physical anchor tied around her neck. She attended a recovery program, and after getting sober she began running. She credits this pairing of exercise and sobriety with her long-term success.
Running offered her many opportunities to honor herself, her body, and her accomplishment of staying sober. It gave her a sense of community with other runners and helped her rebuild her confidence. Running also serves as a coping mechanism to help her deal with emotional turmoil and daily stressors.
When she was immersed in heavy drinking culture, Louise was not held accountable for her actions or her promises, least of all herself. Now, with a community of runners counting on her to be where she says she’ll be at a certain time, she can’t and won’t waste a night away by drinking.
Maybe you don’t like to run. That’s okay. You don’t have to run marathons to be fit and healthy. But what we can learn from Louise’s story is how important it is to find a form of exercise you enjoy and that can connect you with others.
In 2019, David Adesman was a young, millennial creative director in Los Angeles. He partied too much. When his close friend, roommate, and training partner relapsed on drugs, overdosed, and passed away, David was motivated to change his life. He got sober and cut out all sugar and junk food from his diet. He also began weightlifting. In the article, David compares sobriety to heavy lifting: it requires a lot of emotional work, facing our fears and getting stronger. Fitness became so important to David that he eventually became certified as a personal trainer so he can help others get fit and find their ideal physical fitness level.
Maybe you feel like you’re so far from a decent bench press or a 2-mile jog that there’s no point in even trying. Part of honoring yourself in sobriety is being honest about where you are and setting reasonable goals for yourself. If your goal is to feel better and get more fit, start small. Decide to take a 10-15 minute walk once or twice a day. After some time, you might discover that you want to walk longer. Eventually, you might want to break into a run.
If you enjoy gym culture, join a local gym and work with a personal trainer. A good personal trainer will meet you where you’re at and help you build gradually from there.
The point is to find an exercise or activity that feeds not just your body but also your spirit–and one that connects you with like-minded people who can help motivate you to keep going when you’d rather give up.
St. Gregory Is Equipped to Help
You honored yourself by choosing to get sober, and you can continue to show yourself respect and love by committing to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is a form of self-care, and self-care is a top priority for us here at St. Gregory’s. Our campus boasts a gym for basketball or volleyball and a fully equipped exercise facility. Our beautiful grounds offer the option for outdoor exercise and sports as well. Exercise paired with sobriety can increase your chance of living a substance- free life long term. Don’t wait to be the best version of yourself. Reach out today!