I’ve been in recovery from addiction for 25 years. I’ve been into fitness in one form or another for close to 20 of those – the first three, skip five-ish years, then the last seventeen, give or take.
I didn’t mess around with those five missing years, either. I did it right, they were sedentary. My weight shot up from a scrawny 150 pounds to a chubby-ish 195.
I didn’t know what I had those first few years of fit recovery. As fitness went, I just did what I did and concentrated on fixing what was wrong with me so I could recover. It wasn’t until that second stretch of fitness started – after I’d put some time in and cleared up much of the wreckage – that I was able to grasp what I’d previously taken for granted.
It all started with running.
I didn’t want to be a runner, I hated it with a passion… right up until I didn’t want to be fat more than I didn’t want to run. I never loved running, but that endorphin rush, after having no mood or mind-altering drugs for so long, felt awesome. I did come love that.
Then came cycling and I could have that feeling every time I rode, and I could ride almost daily. For some reason it doesn’t work the same inside, on the trainer, but I rode the trainer through the winter just the same, to stay sane and thin.
Now, cycling is special to me. I do love cycling. I love the toys, I love the mechanics of it, the physics, the friends, and the “want to”…. and I love the perspective and dimension it adds to my recovery.
Recovery from addiction is about coming back from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. Quitting drinking, dope, and cigarettes is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and likely the hardest thing I’ll ever do. I was miserable and beat down when I quit. Over time, throughout my recovery from that hopeless state of mind. Fitness has provided an excellent balance to my recovery.
There’s no doubt there’s recovery without fitness, but fitness makes recovery better. I am a pickle and always will be, so recovery is the only option for me that keeps me on the right side of the grass. I would continue in recovery without fitness – I just wouldn’t like it as much.