Sobriety works well when it’s viewed as a holistic experience. When Justine incorporated physical exercise as part of her path to sobriety, she felt better in many ways. Was her idea something that could work for others?
Justine was court-ordered to a twelve-step program for alcoholism after she was caught driving while intoxicated. It all seemed so foreign to Justine; she was certain that she did not have a problem. After all, she never really got wasted. She just drank enough to get a slight buzz. After a while, Justine realized that the only person she was fooling was herself.
The program taught Justine quite a few things about herself. She remembered running track throughout high school and college. It made her feel good then. She decided to try it again and was surprised at the results. Amazed, actually.
Physical Exercise And What It Does To The Brain
So, why was Justine so surprised at her experience with exercise? It’s because physical exercise impacts dopamine receptors in the brain. A recent article reported that adding exercise to methamphetamine addiction counseling added new dopamine receptors to the brain. Ironically, meth addicts actually crave a dopamine rush.
So, what is dopamine? Psychology Today tells us that if you have low dopamine you are prone to addiction. It acts as a neurotransmitter that basically regulates what the brain considers as good and bad. Dopamine determines movement and emotional responses. It, therefore, plays an important role in getting an edge on recovery.
Physical exercise is also a great stress reliever. It’s no secret that many turn to drugs because they feel pressure or anxiety, and early sobriety can bring about several emotions a person has not dealt with in a long time. Even a simple walk in the park will release some tension.
When Justine took back to running, she felt a natural high. She thought it was imaginary. Actually, it was that her body was releasing endorphins and creating a natural effect. A healthy one. It made her feel happier.
Many people with addiction issues also report problems with sleeping. They, therefore, take more drugs to combat insomnia. Physical exercise helps to break the cycle and tire the body a natural way.
At Clearbrook, we believe that recovery is an ongoing process. We are dedicated to helping our clients find sobriety on a physical, mental and spiritual level. If you or a loved one needs help, please call us for assistance. Our Admissions Specialists are available 24 hours a day.