Treatment teaches us many things (how to avoid temptation, the importance of forgiving ourselves and others, living one day at a time, etc.). If we’re fortunate enough to get help from a facility that is truly in tune with what we need to sustain long-term recovery, we will also learn the importance of achieving balance between our physical and psychological health. A massive part of this is means nutritional counseling, fitness therapy, and guidance toward a more active lifestyle. If we feel better overall and have the right information to stay active, we’ll be much less likely to fixate on lingering withdrawal symptoms and less vulnerable to long-term substance abuse-related symptoms.
The reality of addiction is that it forces us to abandon many areas of our lives, including our physical fitness. What we often fail to realize, however, is that our level of fitness can directly inform the speed and depth with which we recover. If we adopt a lifestyle of daily exercise and physical mindfulness, we can better arm ourselves against the rigors of withdrawal and add years to our lives. Whether it’s going for daily walks or jogs, joining a gym or playing basketball on the weekends, an active lifestyle is just one more tool in our arsenal against continued addiction-related pain.
Regardless of whether or not we were physically active prior to the development of our substance abuse, we can learn to integrate physical fitness incrementally into our lives until we have a solid routine and are in better control of our lives on a daily basis. This is not something that we should fear or avoid, rather something that we should be emboldened to embrace and celebrate. We can recognize physical fitness not only as a way to look and feel better; but also as a way to sustain our recovery and gain better control over our drug and alcohol abuse.