How can sports help those who are in addiction recovery?
It’s not rocket science and it’s not a mystery either. We all know that physical activity can do wonders to our body and well-being. It’s just a good idea all around. What we don’t really explore, however, is the effect of getting into team-based sports and how it positively affects us as adults.
In addiction rehabs, such as ours at Bridges of Hope, we have included sports, particularly team sports such as basketball, into our program. This is as a form of holistic therapy that helps them physically, mentally, and even emotionally.
Therefore, if you’re in addiction recovery, you will find that there are many benefits of playing sports.
Playing sports and addiction recovery
Here’s how playing sports can help you in your recovery journey:
1. Physical activity. That alone is an incentive in itself. It helps your body and mind. It boosts your mood as well as your immune system. For someone in recovery, adding physical activity to your routine paves the way to a different lifestyle–one that leads to a better you and a tighter grasp on your recovery.
2.It takes you out of your comfort zone. This is especially true when you’re in early recovery. Navigating social situations can be challenging now that you don’t have your addiction to serve as your crutch. When you play sports, especially team sports, there’s a social risk involved. You have to gou out, compromise, and adjust.
3. Conflict resolution. There’s something about sports that teaches you to deal with things even if it doesn’t go your way. You face defeat, you face wins graciously. You approach sports with a level head. Whether it’s with the game itself or with other people, you exercise your problem-solving muscles to allow you to conquer the situation.
4. A sober way to have fun. Yes, you will learn that fun can also mean being on your feet–or on your toes. It doesn’t just mean being intoxicated or engaging in negative activities that you once thought were cool.
5. You get a new hobby. Find a sport that you like and it’s going to be a breeze. When you were in active addiction, you may have turned your back on activities that you once used to spend a lot of time on. Now is the time to get back on those hobbies or discover new ones–sports being one of them.
6. Stress relief. When you were in active addiction, you may have rationalized that indulging in your addictions is a way for you to unwind–like you deserve to eventually destroy yourself. When you start to get into sports, you’ll see what a great stress reliever it is–after all, it helps hike up your endorphins and even dopamine, in a natural way.
7. A healthy, positive escape. Many resort to addictive substances and behavior as a way to cope or escape their situation. However, sports can easily replace that. Better yet–sports is a healthy alternative to forget the cares of the world even for just a little while. When you play sports or get into a physical activity (or even any hobby, in fact), you focus on what’s in front of you and even helps clear your mind.
8. You build friendships. When you’re in active addiction, your relationships are based on mutual need–so you both continue to feed off each other’s addictions. In the end, you end up even betraying each other. Because the center of the relationship is the addiction. This time around, you surround yourself with people who can help support and uplift you, who can have a positive impact in your life.
9. Losing can also be winning. When it comes to sports, you learn sportsmanship conducts that you can apply in real life. Like in sports, you don’t win all the time in life. What you set out to do don’t really happen sometimes. There will always be winners and losers. And sports give you important takeaways that can help you deal with life better, especially now that you are sober.
10. It’s hard to overdo sports. Unlike drugs and other destructive and addictive activities, that is. With sports, doing it frequently can actually be beneficial. The high you get from fitness, including the confidence and well-being all come naturally. When you get involved in sports, especially, you learn discipline and therefore it’s much harder to abuse.
Getting into sports for the first time can be daunting. This is especially true for those who may have led an unhealthy lifestyle. However, as with anything, the first step is always the hardest and once you get started, you’ll find the benefits and you’ll be happy you made the decision.