Shimon's Story: Replacing the High of Using
To Shimon, “going for a run” once meant chasing that next high. It meant drinking and using as much as possible for days, weeks or even months, all to maintain that thrill. Today, it still means getting a thrilland going after an intense high, but in a healthier way. His decision to join a Strides in Recovery team changed his life, and it inspired him to help change the lives of others too.
Shimon started training by mostly walking, but he pushed himself to run as much of the distance as he could, running a bit more each week. He soon discovered that runner’s high is real. “The natural high of running is the closest thing to using, a lot of the same feelings. I feel like it hits the same receptors in my brain.” He could chase that next thrill any time he wanted, and this time he could do it in a healthy way that helped him rebuild his body, mind and soul. “Running is taking care of myself,” he explained.
Running soon became more than self-care. “Once I started running, it changed my mindset. I started asking myself ‘where can I go from here?’” Soon after proudly crossing the finish line of his first 5K, he discovered the answer for himself.
After completing residential treatment, he became a volunteer at the same treatment center that helped him get sober. He organized and leads several group hikes each week, bringing his brothers in sobriety to beautiful locations throughout Southern California. By showing them that they can get out and get moving to lift their spirits, he is “elevating the natural act of using our feet into something amazing. It is all about getting out and moving yourself through life.”