January 17 2018
Renee DeMarsh thrives on extreme physical challenges. She'll soon participate in the 2018 World Marathon Challenge.
Written by Anonymous
I started running because I was addicted to meth.
I started experimenting with drugs when I was 14. First weed, then ecstasy, after that cocaine—but the one that clung to me was meth. The first time I tried it, I was in love. I was 21. I never really thought I was addicted because I didn’t look and act like an addict. I had a job, a nice car, friends, an apartment, and I didn’t think anyone would have guessed I was a meth user.
I became pregnant after using meth for 2.5 years, and I quit cold turkey. It was a struggle. The night sweats, the cravings, the mood swings, my irrational thinking. I don’t know how I managed, but somehow I did. After my pregnancy, I relapsed more than a few times. I didn’t want to do meth, but even after not using it for 10 months, I felt like I needed it. My mind won every time—even after trying to fight it, there I went looking for another fix.
I knew I needed help, but I didn’t know how to ask for it. My family and friends were unaware of my drug use. And I was too ashamed to talk about it with them, so I started running just to clear my mind. It’s now one year later, and I am still running—I haven’t relapsed since.
Running has been a key element in my recovery process. It has given me the strength I never even knew I had. Every time I think about using (almost every day), I stop myself very quickly because I have worked so hard to get where I am at with running. I would be so disappointed in myself. I give running all I have. I focus on it rather than on the drug. And even though I crave meth, I do not give in to myself because running has not only made me physically stronger, but it has made me mentally stronger. Just like I tell myself, “No, you’re not taking a walk break” when I am running and continue on, I can now tell myself, “No, I don’t need the drug,” and I stop myself from using.
Running keeps me active and focused on one thing—getting better. I love knowing I am healthy. I love running up that hill I would have never been able to run while using. Sometimes when I feel mentally weak, I put on my running shoes and go for a long run. Breathing the fresh air and listening to my favorite songs reminds me of how beautiful it is to be sober, to be alive, to be able to run.
Today, I am not living to get the high I would get from using meth. Instead, I am living for that high I feel every time I am done with a really good run. Today I am stronger, healthier, and focused, and I owe a lot of that success to running.