Besides counting my days sober, I’m tracking another number.
I’ve run 109 miles so far this year!
That’s me with my driver, bodyguard, and running buddy. Don’t judge the visor, white guys can’t handle the tropical sun.
Since my Haitian ghetto isn’t exactly safe, we joined the local sports center. It’s usually 80° F by the time we finish each morning. 109 miles is 436 times around that track. Certainly not my ideal training situation.
But it’s progress and every loop gives me time to think – to breathe – to feel like I’m moving forward. It’s a different kind of step work.
I’ve noticed a pattern, lots of friends in recovery have turned to exercise. This makes sense, few things provide more positive mental and physical benefits than working out. Self-care in one area spills over to other parts your health.
I’ve seen the reverse correlation in my own life. When my addiction was strong I nearly abandoned running. Who can jog when trying to stomach a case of beer? Conversely, when I focused on my training I had fewer periods of binge drinking.
That’s not to say running can cure alcoholism. I still drank, often in the company of my run club. I still remember showing up to races hungover. During my competitive phase (local road races only) the pressure to perform became a drinking trigger.
Occasional sports injuries would led me to drink more – which led to slower healing, weight gain, and more injury. It was a negative cycle and more proof that alcohol was never my friend.
In recovery, I’m slowing getting back into running. Progress has been modest and painful at times. At 39 years old, my body isn’t sure how to bounce back. I’m also carrying some extra weight each mile.
Days when I run are 100x better. My emotions are under control and I feel more positive about life. It’s also helped me remember how to sleep. Noon time naps after jogging are heaven on Earth.
What about you? Has exercise helped you stay sober? Leave a comment below to share your experience.