Exercise is one of the most important ways people suffering from addiction can get toxins out of their system, clear their heads, and stay sober. It’s usually a very important part of the recovery regimen, and now one woman, Louise Green, has spoken to Self about how exercise got her onto the road of sobriety. 

 

Green says that when she was 29, she felt “mentally, physically and spiritually bankrupt; devoid of all emotion, lost, and terrified of myself,” but “in fitness, I found a new kind of high, and never looked back.”  

 

Green says she had her last drink 18 years ago, and she got into a recovery program. “The program was a springboard that helped me launch a new life, but when I really think about the success of my long-term sobriety, I credit it to fitness.”  

 

Green started running her first year sober, and she recalled that “with every run, I left behind pieces of shame and believed in myself just a little bit more. I started with 5K races, then 10K, then half-marathons, and then I eventually left my full-time career to become a personal trainer because I had become captivated by this new way of living.” 

 

Among the benefits of exercising, Green says fitness brought her into “a much-needed community of health-oriented people” she could be friends with. “When I got sober, I didn’t have friends who were healthy and it was dangerous for me to be around them. When I started running, I discovered a whole new community of people who were health-oriented.”  

 

Exercise would also help Green rebuild her self-esteem and give her a sense of accomplishment as she grew healthier and stronger. “With every run, I was able to accomplish something challenging, and realize what I could do made me feel better and better about myself.”  

 

And one of the most important things Green gained from her new fitness routine was “it gave me a healthy outlet to cope with new challenges and difficult emotions. Running and going to the gym gave me a tool that would help me cope with hardships. In exercise, I found a new strategy for dealing with stress, anxiety and anger – and for once it was productive and satisfying on many levels.”