Why Community is Important in Recovery
Johann Hari, a British journalist, offered a unique perspective about addiction in his 2015 TED Talk. Hari stated that the opposite of addiction was not sobriety and recovery, but connection. It was difficult to stay connected during the current Covid-19 pandemic. This is especially true for those in recovery from substance abuse disorders. Many self-help groups have moved to Zoom. There is not much time to chat before or after meetings. People in recovery need to spend as much time talking as they do in meetings. Boredom can be relieved by socializing in a sober, healthy way.
The COVID-19 pandemic made it hard to get out and enjoy the health benefits of physical activity and socialization. Many gyms have been closed due to restrictions and stay-at home orders. It’s now much harder to find a place to exercise. Stay-at-home orders make it difficult to socialize, which can increase social isolation.
People are finding creative ways to connect and participate in recovery online. The Phoenix is a non-profit fitness center located in Denver, Colorado. He decided to create and sustain community while encouraging a sober lifestyle after the facility was closed down by restrictions. He came up with the idea of online fitness classes that cover everything from strength training to yoga. His nonprofit class in Denver, CO has attracted people from all over the US and four other countries since it went virtual.
How Can Fitness Help Me Stay Sober?
Recovery from addiction is important for your mind, spirit, and body. If you are addicted to substances, exercise is not a priority. This can lead to you becoming less focused on your recovery. Your body can be affected by alcohol and substance abuse. It can improve your physical health and provide you with a sense community with like-minded people. Other benefits include:
- Boredom relief. Boredom relief can be achieved through physical activity. You can also use it to structure your day and keep you from feeling rushed.
- Boosting your mood. Engaging in exercise-related activities, such as walking around the block or training to run a marathon, releases endorphins. These chemicals produce a happy response in the brain. You may feel less inclined to resort to substance abuse as a coping strategy for difficult emotions and symptoms like depression or anxiety.
- Facilitating a sense community. If you have been suffering from addiction for a while, many or all of your social interactions could revolve around substance abuse. A gym membership or fitness class can help you make new friends and increase your social support network. It will also allow you to spend time in a more relaxed environment where substance abuse is less likely.
- Improving your brain health. Long-term substance abuse can cause a decrease in brain mass in your frontal lobe. This is responsible for memory and impulsive decision making. It has been shown that exercise can promote brain growth. This can help reduce some of these effects, and make it easier for you to pause and learn rather than resort to using substances.
- Improve your physical health. It is no secret that exercise is beneficial for your physical health. However, it can be particularly important for those who use substances. Substance abuse can cause high blood pressure and heart rate, which can increase the risk of developing serious cardiovascular disease. Exercise can improve cardiovascular health by lowering resting blood pressure and heart rate. However, it won’t be enough to heal. To truly heal, you need to seek treatment and develop coping skills that can be used in conjunction with exercise.
Related reading: Can Exercise Help Your Addiction Recovery?
What are some strategies at-home?
The pandemic is complicated by technology, and there are many ways to help.
- You can exercise at home. Although it may not be as rewarding as a full gym experience, a run outside or bodyweight exercise on your living room’s floor can provide the same benefits to your mental and bodily health. You can also get rid of some boredom that you might feel in quarantine. You can order weights online and a yoga mat online if you need a bit of equipment.
- Install a workout app. You will find many options for workout apps in the App Store. You don’t need to pay for expensive subscriptions, as many of these apps are free!
- Many of the most effective online workouts can also be used as support groups for those in recovery from addiction. These free apps are often created by non-profit organizations and allow you to connect with others through your fitness journey as well as your addiction struggles. These connections can be a great way to reduce loneliness and social isolation. You can also be inspired and motivated by watching others on their recovery journeys and hearing their cheers. These online support groups are designed to keep you active and relieve boredom. Social support and exercise are crucial for anyone trying to recover from a substance abuse disorder. Although the coronavirus can add additional difficulties to an already difficult road, technology in 2020 allows you to enjoy both the benefits and the challenges of the virus. You can stay on track towards recovery by joining an online recovery support group.
All In Solutions Counseling Center is a network of addiction treatment providers. We provide outpatient & inpatient addiction treatment programs that are individualized to meet each client’s needs. Our specialized programs include:
- Faith-based addiction recovery
- Medication-assisted addiction treatment
- Art therapy treatment
- Male-only addiction treatment
- Female-only addiction treatment
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