Leslie Gold speaking to the Beit T'Shuvah
Los Angeles Marathon Team in 2015
It was March 18, 2017, the night before the 32nd LA Marathon. We had just finished our team dinner. The next morning would be the culmination of 6 months of training for this group of people battling their addictions. In less than 12 hours, I would once again be standing in the LA Marathon finish zone, celebrating with these clients of a West Los Angeles residential addiction treatment program, as they proudly received their medals and began snapping photos of themselves to share on social media.
That evening, I was reading through the testimonials that I had urged each person to write. “Six months from now, when the new season starts” I had explained, “your newly sober brothers and sisters will be standing where you once stood, wondering if they are capable of going from rock bottom of their addictions to crossing the finish of a major marathon. You have the power to help them believe in themselves, to inspire them to rise to the challenge. Please take a moment to write about how training helped you in sobriety. I promise I will share your words with them.” As I flipped through page after page of testimonials, two themes emerged
Below are some actual quotes.
An Improved Sense of Self
“I learned that I’m stronger than I thought.”
“Now I know that I can do whatever I put my mind to.”
“At first I ran to improve my health. Then, after training for several weeks, I began to look at the marathon as a metaphor for my sobriety. Commitment, follow through, longevity, endurance and perseverance are just some of the things that come to mind in that metaphor. The reward from doing this is indescribable."
The Power of the Group Experience
“This team showed me that I don’t have to go through life alone.”
“Being on this team gives me a sense of community. It gives me hope for the future.”
“Being part of this team means that sometimes we carry others and other times we are carried. Sometimes we need to be loved when we can't love ourselves. We go through seasons and we need each other."
Reflecting on these comments, and the many similar testimonials I had read each year I had been coaching, the thoughts I had been having became too powerful to ignore. I had to act. I had to find a way to bring similar life-changing experiences to other addiction recovery communities. In 2018, I quit my job and started Strides in Recovery.
Today, we bring year-round goal-oriented group running/walking programs to 10 addiction recovery communities throughout Southern California. Today, our dedicated staff and volunteers are supporting sobriety, one stride at a time. Today, we are working toward a future in which we can bring the healing power of exercise to many more addiction recovery communities.
Substance use disorders have derailed so many lives, but it doesn't have to be that way. With your support, and the support of our partner organizations, donors, volunteers, and team members, the Strides in Recovery community is working together to be part of the solution.
Founder and Executive Director
To learn more about our founder, click here to listen to this 7 interview on the Feel Good Running podcast.
Today, Strides in Recovery coaches and volunteers bring the healing power of exercise to addiction treatment programs throughout Southern California. Together we are growing physically, emotionally, and mentally stronger.
Together we are supporting sobriety, one stride at a time.