Many recovering drug addicts will know the struggle of not only getting clean, but continuing to resist temptation every day.
Many people use drugs as a way to escape reality and the troubles that go along with it, finding a mental safe haven in the high. This means that when they decide to follow the path of sobriety, they are forced to deal with all the issues that come with real life on a daily basis.
Some people trade one addiction for another, hoping to distract them from the urge to relapse and fall into old habits. One of the most popular activities recovering addicts choose to follow is fitness.
So how can a fitness routine help in your journey to rehabilitation?
There are actually many different reasons that physical exercise can help with the day to day struggle of staying sober. We have put together a list of the top six reasons why you should make fitness a part of your drug and alcohol addiction treatment plan. Read on to find out more!
One of the key things fitness brings to your life is a sense of structure.
Routine is a tried and tested method for keeping yourself busy, focused, and accountable for your actions. By having a specific fitness routine you stick to every day, you will have something that breaks up your day and gives you something to look forward to.
A sense of structure and balance can help improve other areas of your life as well, and can give you a sense of control over your body and emotions. Whereas drugs offer no structure or routine, a physical exercise regime offers the opposite and can help take your mind off any cravings you might be experiencing.
Exercise can give you a sense of accomplishment when you need it most.
Drug and alcohol addiction can rob you of a feeling of completing anything. More often than not, a drug addict would do whatever they could to get high and then leave everything else by the wayside. While you might get a fleeting feeling of satisfaction from achieving your buzz, everything else tends to suffer as a result. This can leave you feeling empty and dissatisfied with your life.
Commiting to an exercise routine and then sticking to it can give you a much needed drive to achieve and succeed in something you have complete control over. Setting your own personal fitness goals, such as running 5 kilometres or squatting a certain weight, and then working your way towards achieving those things can give your life direction and purpose during the difficult road to recovery.
Exercising and getting fit can also boost your self esteem.
When people are addicted to drugs or alcohol, their bodies always suffer as a result. This can lead to both extremes of the weight disorder spectrum, from dramatic weight loss to severe weight gain. Either of these can leave you feeling depressed and with low self esteem about your body, which can further drive you down an addiction spiral.
Introducing an exercise regime to your sobriety program can help boost your confidence significantly. As your fitness improves and you continue to beat your personal bests, you will notice changes in your body and mood that others will notice and respond to. This can provide you with a huge self esteem boost and help you stick to your recovery program.
Something else that fitness can bring to your recovery is a lovely rush of endorphins.
Drug and alcohol addiction usually arises from a desire to alter one’s perception and mood, to achieve some kind of “high”. Unfortunately, this comes at the price of damage to your body and psyche, as well as your social relationships. If you continue to use drugs and alcohol to escape reality and feel better, addiction is an inevitable outcome.
Endorphins are a naturally occurring class of chemicals that are produced in the body in response to intense physical activity. These chemicals function exactly like opioids such as morphine or oxycontin, inhibiting pain receptors and providing feelings of euphoria and pleasure. By trading harmful drugs for a naturally occuring analogue, you can still achieve a kind of high without damaging your body and relationships.
Exercising in a group can provide you with an opportunity to make positive new connections.
Drug and alcohol addiction can be a highly isolating experience. Addicts tend to lose many of their close friends and family throughout their addictions, as they prioritise their highs over their meaningful relationships. This can lead to depression, further drug abuse, and can make rehabilitation even harder.
Fitness can provide you with a fantastic opportunity to build new positive connections during your rehabilitation. Group exercise, such as running groups or spin classes, provide you with a great environment in which to make connections with others, some even going through the same thing that you are. This can dramatically improve treatment success and decrease the likelihood of relapsing.
Regular physical activity can also provide you with much needed mental clarity during rehabilitation.
Many drug and alcohol addicts describe their mental states during addiction as foggy, cloudy, or without direction. When the only thing on your mind is achieving the next high, your ability to think clearly about other things can become degraded. This can make focusing on other things like your relationships, job, hobbies, or self improvement almost impossible.
Exercise gives you a chance to clear your mind and focus on the tasks at hand. Reconnecting with your body through aerobic and resistance training can give you back the tools you need to focus on other things in your life, and forget about your addiction for a moment. This makes sticking to your rehabilitation easier and relapse less likely.
Exercise and fitness can be a powerful tool in your road to recovery. Combining the confidence boost, clear mind, and reinforcing benefits of endorphins can help prevent relapse and give you back control of your life. Freedom From Addiction offers personalized fitness programs during our drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs. We focus on group exercise, cardio and resistance training, and beating personal bests to help our patients follow on their sobriety. Contact us today to find out more!