• Mark

Working Out My Recovery


“I did not get sober to just sit around and let life live me, I got sober to live my life the way I want to.”

In my ten years of recovery

, a huge part of my life has been personal fitness. It has remained a constant and instrumental part of my day to day recovery. It has allowed me pathways to meditation, a positive and healthy lifestyle, and a way that I can challenge myself and set achievable goals. I don’t just walk through my fears today, I run through them.

Running has been such a huge part of my recovery story. It has led me to find an alternative way to meditation. It sounds a little crazy, because I always thought meditation happened in a dark room, quite room with candles, etc. Through running, I have found ways to connect with nature, release nervous/negative energy, and with just the right mix of classical and jazz on my music playlist it is a natural way to quiet the mind and open it up for mediation. Running is a simple exercise in founded in redundancy. Breathe in, breath out. Put one foot in front of the other. Repeat. Through those simple actions, I have found a healthy way to quiet my mind from the noise of everyday life. That is what running and meditation has meant to me.

Fitness has not only been a pathway to quieting my mind, it has also been a pathway to feeling good about myself. Setting goals in recovery has been pivotal for me, as in active addiction so often I could only imagine failure and feeling stuck in the “Poor me” mindset. Through fitness I have found a way to set goals for myself, and to achieve those goals. Not always perfectly, but the progress in achieving them has been life changing. Did I ever think I could run a 5k? My first time out running I could barely run a mile. Did I ever think I could play softball? I had never picked up a softball bat or glove in my life. Did I ever think I could go rock climbing? Let’s talk about a real life fears of heights. The answer to all of these 10 years ago would have been no. However by setting small goals that I could achieve along the way to the overriding goal has taught me so much about myself and how to apply that mindset to all aspects of my life. Today I am not only running 5k’s but now training for 10k’s. I am not just trying to hit softballs, I was coach of the year in 2016 for my softball league. Rock climbing, well I did some indoor climbing a few times and learned all about it, but I have not yet scaled a real “rock” yet. Progress, not perfection they say. As long as we take everything one step at a time, I have learned through fitness, that anything can be achievable.

My recovery has been a journey of many ups and downs, but through it all I always can feel good about myself through fitness. Whether I am at home, at work, or traveling somewhere across the country, I can always get out for a run or hit the gym to find a positive affirmation for myself. We say in the fellowship that we bring ourselves wherever we go, well just in case I bring my running shoes too.

Game on for recovery!


Jim Gillen Teen Center

1280 North Main Street, Providence

Phone: (401) 632-4077 | Fax: (401) 632-4296

Email: KRCarlson@CareNE.org