March is ‘Focus on Fitness’ month and recovering addicts in Stoke-on-Trent are using fitness as part of their recovery process.
People seeking help for drug and alcohol dependencies can take part in a one-hour circuit training session each week at the Tunstall leisure centre.
The sessions are being provided by staff at Stoke-on-Trent City Council’s leisure centre Dimensions, in partnership with Stoke Recovery Service (SRS).
Phil Slack, Recovery Coordinator for Stoke Recovery Service in Hanley said: “There’s that old saying, healthy body, healthy mind we can work on all the psychological effects and we get a lot of input regarding addiction in a group setting but this is real life.
“This is something that people can take out into their day-to-day lives and they can do in an evening, it’s just another form of escapism but a healthy one.
He added: “Addiction is what it is, it’s very difficult to get out of on your own, so if there is anybody out there who is struggling, whether it be drink or drugs, if it’s costing you more than money then it’s a problem.
“There is help out there, recovery is actually possible. If you walk into the Drug and Alcohol services you’ll see people who are actually recovering.”
Lisa Rigby who is a member of the recovery programme said: “It’s becoming known that exercise is good for mental health and when you’re in recovery mental health can be quite low to start with.
“I think this is just something that motivates you more and keeps you on track with recovery.
She added: “I came last week and it was my first time in many years doing fitness, I gave it my all and I hurt a lot for a couple of days afterwards but I’m back this week so it must have worked, it didn’t scare me off. “
Councillor Ann James, leader of the city council and cabinet member for health and social care said: “It brings some kind of normality back into their lives in a sense.
“That mirrors some of the stuff that’s done in mental health because a lot of the people that we’ve got coming through this system have actually got mental health problems
She continued: “You find that actually if they’re working with their hands or doing something to do with exercise it stimulates the brain and it sort of gives them some self-reward, they’re achieving something no matter how little and we are hoping that it’ll take their mind off it.”
Stoke Recovery Service is part of the Stoke-on-Trent Community Drug & Alcohol Service (CDAS) and is commissioned by Stoke-on-Trent City Council support to local people who are in recovery from alcohol and drug abuse.
It aims to help service users rebuild their lives and relationships with families and communities.
If you need any help or advice about drug addiction, follow this link.