Many refer to one’s addiction as a tornado, leaving a path of destruction for miles, as far as the eyes can see. Broken relationships need mending, the financials certainly need a facelift, and we basically need to be taught to ‘walk’ all over again. We go to an inpatient addiction treatment and/or a community support group of our choice, and we begin the long process of healing. We learn to cope without our so-called “Drug of Choice”. For the first year or so, we still feel as if something is missing, like the fog still hasn’t lifted. It takes time for our brain to return to normal functioning capacity, but there is certainly something that may be able to help speed up that process…Exercise.
In my opinion, one thing that I think is commonly ignored early in recovery is the importance of exercise. For a long while, we wreaked havoc on our body, mind, and soul. Destroying our body by flooding it with foreign substances, corrupting our mind’s natural circuitry, and emptying our soul like a carton of spoiled milk. Exercise has the benefits to help mend these mental and physical deficits caused by drug and alcohol use.
A Positive, Natural Effect on your Brain
The pleasure centers of the brain are one of the areas hit hardest by our drug/alcohol addiction. Long-term substance use creates an imbalance in those areas of the brain, leaving us unable to feel the joys of everyday life. The, so-called, endorphin pool runs dry. Well, the good news is, exercise releases those endorphins (the pleasure chemical) naturally. Steadfast physical activity during the early stages of recovery, along with maintained abstinence of course, will help you reestablish natural levels of endorphins into your body. Your ability to enjoy a sunrise, laugh with friends, feel the joy of great tasting food, and so much more will slowly begin to return. Your body begins to learn to naturally regulate it’s own chemical reactions again, without the help of “you know what.”