Many people assume that those involved in sport at high levels would be clean living individuals who would shun toxins such as alcohol and drugs. However, this is not always the case. In some sports, such as gymnastics and body building, competitors are under pressure to look a particular way. This may lead them to take certain drugs. Others may participate in physically-demanding sports that cause a lot of pain and may develop a reliance on certain prescription medications.
The reality is that many famous sports stars struggle with addiction. There has also been a link between sports stars and problem gambling. A report conducted for the Professional Players’ Federation in 2014 found that 6.1 per cent of sports players have a problem gambling habit, which was three times as many as young men in the general population.
Stars such as John Hartson, Willie Thorne, and Roy Carroll have all spoken out about their struggles with a gambling addiction.
Sport in Rehab
Despite a number of high-profile sports stars struggling with their own addictions, the benefits of sports for recovery cannot be underestimated. The reality is that many addicts arrive at rehab in very poor physical shape. They have spent many years in the grip of addiction and their physical health has suffered as a result.
Here at Addiction Helper, we believe that sport and exercise are a crucial part of rehabilitation for many patients. Sport can help patients to overcome their addiction as it improves their energy levels and creates more mental awareness. It is also important to note that exercise and sport can suppress cravings for chemical substances such as drugs and alcohol.
Many of the organisations that we work with share this philosophy, which is why they encourage patients to exercise daily. A large number of the private clinics we work with have on-site gyms with state-of-the-art equipment designed to help patients get into good physical shape. This regular exercise will improve both mental and physical health, and it is an important part of rehabilitation for most patients.
How Sport Can Help to Prevent Relapse
Those who have completed a programme of rehabilitation and are heading home may want to consider sports as a relapse prevention tool. One of the biggest threats to sobriety is boredom, with many recovering addicts returning to drugs or alcohol because they could not cope with the ‘boredom’ of sober life.
However, sober living does not have to be boring. There are many things that recovering addicts can do to stay busy in recovery, and sports are ideal. Taking up a sport will keep you active and healthy and will ensure that you always have something to do. Team sports will also mean meeting new people, which is an added bonus.
Importance of Staying Busy in Recovery
Getting sober is the first step in the battle against addiction, but those in recovery have to always be alert to the danger of relapse. Many people entering rehab for addiction are under the impression that once they get clean, their lives will automatically change for the better. They have unrealistic expectations of recovery, and this can leave them feeling disheartened and disappointed.
It is very important to ensure that your life has meaning when in recovery. If you do not find things to do, you are in danger of developing depression, which is a leading cause of relapse. Taking up a sport has so many benefits. Your life could have a real purpose if you become involved in a sport that you love. You may even find something that you excel at and one that you can compete in.
Benefits of Sport in Recovery
Sport offers a number of benefits for those in recovery, including:
- It will keep you active and provide you with a way to de-stress and relax. You may have started drinking or taking drugs as a way to cope with stress but now that you are in recovery, you can no longer do this. Sport is an excellent alternative and a fantastic way to promote good mental
- Taking up a sport will allow you to meet new people.
- If you take up a sport, you may find that you really do enjoy it and excel at it. It could change your life completely. You could discover that you have a real talent for a particular sport, and this sense of achievement will boost your sobriety.
Avoiding Addiction Substitution
Although sport is a great therapy for those in recovery, there is also the danger that you may become addicted to it and simply replace one addiction for another. It is important that you learn how to find a balance and enjoy sport in moderation. Addiction is an illness that is more about the person than the substance.
If you get to the point where you become obsessed about a particular sport and it begins to negatively affect other areas of your life, then it has become a problem. Sport is meant to become something enjoyable that enhances your life. It should not be something that replaces the addiction you are recovering from to the point where you are neglecting other responsibilities in favour of it.
Addiction Helper works with private residential clinics, local support groups, charity organisations and the NHS to ensure that as many individuals as possible can access the necessary treatments to help them overcome their addictions. Treatments typically include one-to-one counselling, group therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy. Nevertheless, many of the organisations offer complementary therapy to improve the mental and physical health of every patient. With a person-centred approach designed to treat the mind, body and spirit as a whole, patients have a greater chance of a successful recovery. Sport is just one of the complementary therapies provided to help conquer addiction.