As a former alcoholic, running has played a large role in my health and sobriety, helping to deflate my anxiety and depression, and supplying me with paths to clarity and self-empowerment. As a writer, the connection between fitness and recovery is a major topic, the subject of a memoir and many articles and essays.
But a few years back when my daughter found herself in the grips of addiction, my running started to collapse, my mind darkened by despair and rage. Train for a race? Forget it. My wife and I were living on a razor’s edge, doing all we could to climb out of an agonizing moment that was stuck on repeat. Despite years of sobriety, I was not entirely prepared to handle a substance use disorder in my own family. After various mistakes and missteps, extended bouts of guilt and shame, and an insanity-inducing obsession with fixing the situation, we managed to start changing how we reacted. We got educated, and got support. And as we changed, our daughter was able to start changing.
I’m happy to report that our daughter is almost seven months sober and fully engaged in her recovery. While it’s still one day at a time for her, and for us, we couldn’t be prouder of the hard work she has put in, the life she is reclaiming, the future she is building. While being the loved one of someone struggling with addiction can often seem bleak and beyond heartbreaking, there is hope, there is light. I know this first hand. And that’s why I’m running this year’s Boston Marathon for the Herren Project, which understands addiction is a family disease and provides services to both the user and people closest to them. It’s an amazing feeling to once again be able to look into the future, to see beyond the immediate moment, to look into your kid’s eyes and see the gleam. I want that for every family member out there, more than anything.
Click here to support Caleb: