Imagining a drunk or hungover triathlon is painful. Dehydration, cognitive haze, muscles aching, nausea and a headache- the idea of it makes for an upset stomach. At once, there are people running these challenging endurance races under the influence or in withdrawals from being under the influence the night before. Mixed into the population of athletes running a triathlon are also sober individuals. Men who have fought through addiction and alcoholism then fought through treatment find themselves in triathlons. Whereas in treatment they learned to care for mind, body, and spirit, in the world of triathlons they focus their holistic interest on run, bike, swim. For sober triathletes, the spirituality is the same. Many find a new sense of purpose, a new ‘high’ in life, and a reason to stick to sobriety. Dedication, commitment, and recovery are all part of the program of becoming a triathlete as well as a dignified man of sobriety.
The early stages of recovery don’t always feel good. Withdrawals, detox, cravings, obsessions, and feelings pose a particular challenge unlike any other. Day by day, men in treatment gain back their health, their strength, and their outlook on life changes. A life doomed to addiction and alcoholism is suddenly full of rich opportunities. Feeling better, men realize that in recovery their life has a chance. Without drugs and alcohol in their system, they feel capable of making goals, taking action to reach those goals, and achieve those goals.
Running. Biking. Swimming. Finishing. The goals of a triathlon are laid out clearly. One footstep at a time, one stroke at a time, one pedal at a time, a triathlon is completed in moments. Choosing to become healthy through sobriety, men find many parallels when they choose to commit their health to being able to complete a triathlon. Engaging in a daily commitment to grow toward a larger goal is what gets a man to sustain a triathlon as well as a lifetime of sustainable recovery.
Working toward a triathlon can be a wonderful structure for early recovery. The typically intensive training schedule for a triathlon creates a timely discipline and a daily routine. Staying on track to train for a triathlon makes or breaks performance. Likewise, staying on track with sobriety every day makes or breaks sustainable recovery. Waking up each day, sober triathletes have a choice: to drink or to train? To perpetuate inebriation or to progress toward undeniable athletic excellence? Many find their new focus drives their adrenaline in a way that gives them a ‘new high’ and a better reason to stay sober.
Sustainable change for sustainable recovery- that is what we do at Tree House Recovery, a men’s residential treatment program in Portland, Oregon. We’re setting men free from addiction. For information on our long term programs, call us today: (855) 969-5181