Stu enjoyed running in his earlier years; but he ran sporadically, generally alone, and with no particular purpose in mind. That all changed when he completed his first 5K four years ago, as part of the Strides in Recovery team at Awakening Recovery. Being part of team of men in early recovery elevated his running to a whole new level.
“Running has become a great tool for me in sobriety." explains Stu. "It helps me clear my head and stay in the moment. Running also allows me to set goals and achieve them. Most importantly, it has been a good conduit in connecting my peers and I. Training for this race brought us closer together.”
Stu, wearing his first medal, standing with Awakening Recovery Executive Director David van der Velde at the 2017 Downtown LA Turkey Trot
After completing the program at Awakening Recovery, Stu remained in LA. He kept running and he stayed connected to his brothers in his house. When the 2018 team ran their first 5K, Stu was there, running along with his sober brothers and cheering them on. Today, he is still running with the residents whenever he can work it into his schedule.
Running showed Stu that he was capable of completing whatever he put his mind to. Running also taught Stu to dream big. In 2021, he decided to run a marathon. It wasn’t easy. Because of his work schedule, he had to train on his own. He also developed a foot injury that kept him from training as much as he’d planned. But that didn’t stop him. Recovery is about facing challenges and overcoming obstacles, and Stu applied that mindset to his running. On November 7, Stu proudly crossed the finish line of the Los Angeles Marathon.
Stu, powering to the Finish Line of the 2021 Los Angeles Marathon
Today he has over 4 years of sobriety and is already thinking about his next marathon. He is even considering training for a triathlon. When asked what he recommends for those who are new to sobriety, he quickly replied:
"Running, biking, swimming, whatever it is, it’s definitely good to fall into a routine. Expel that extra energy."