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I found Recovery Road Runners (RRR) at a point in my recovery where I had been sober for a little over a year and was desperate for a recovery community. Everyone in my life still drinks and although they could have been supportive I really wanted to talk to people who knew what I was going through. I had tried a local women’s AA meeting, but I had a tough time accepting my drinking problem was due to a “personality defect” instead of alcohol being an addictive drug to which I had become addicted after 2 decades of drinking. I had primarily been a weekend binge drinker but in my thirties as my life was becoming more full (kids and work), my hangovers were becoming increasingly harder to manage. Where it used to be I could sweat off a night of drinking with a run or a hot yoga session, a hangover was turning into days of crippling anxiety and fatigue once the rest of my physical symptoms subsided.
In RRR I found a tribe of other sober runners (and wannabe runners!) who knew exactly what I was talking about when I said I used to sweat out a hangover! Also, there were members who were way more knowledgeable than me who could actually help me become a BETTER runner. At first I was intimidated by all the people training for marathons (and beyond) but I quickly realized they were on a similar journey of recovery. I joined a 16 week challenge where a group of us training together check in daily with our workouts and sweaty selfies and I found more people who understood me at the weekly meetups where we talk about life in recovery. I now have people in my life who I can call when I’m having a tough day and with whom I never have to filter the struggles of not drinking in our booze filled culture.
The thing I appreciate most about RRR is that we are a tribe of people with a growth mindset and are focused on making a better lives for ourselves without alcohol. Together we are dedicated to getting physically and mentally healthier and want to help each other on our respective journeys. Thank you Amber for starting this community and giving us all a safe sober space where we can heal!
Hey RRR family! I had a chance to share my personal struggles with alcohol addiction on Jeff G.'s Getting Bac 2 Zero vlog. Even though I had to get up at 4 a.m. and attempt to be bright-eyed for the 5 a.m. Zoom call, it was an amazing experience.
Jeff asked me all sorts of questions, and I found myself looking pretty far back into my own personal history before I could fully explain how I got to where I'm at now. Like the times I had to stop during track and field practice to puke and pretended I was just pushing myself too hard (when in reality, I was hungover). That was way back in high school!
I'm so glad Jeff asked me to be on his show and I can't wait to do more interviews like it. The video is available for you to watch or listen to. Just click or tap the button below and enjoy!
I always thought I had the best of both worlds: I could drink (and eat) as much as I wanted to and then run it off the next day. Since the age of 19, I've run hundreds of races ranging from 5k to full marathon. But it always bothered me when people would say, "You always run so much, so why aren't you as skinny as a twig?" I looked fine, but they were right. I didn't look "like a runner." And I sure didn't act "like a runner." I drank too much, and I was hungover most days out of the week. I was using running as a way to soothe my hangovers. But after about 25 years of this same-old, same-old, that shit finally got ...OLD. If it's gotten old for you, too, read on, my friend. Running is hard, but we don't have to make it even harder for ourselves than it already is by running hungover and dehydrated.
When I quit drinking, I actually started to ENJOY running again. Without a pounding headache and nauseous stomach to slow me down, I started going faster, farther, and with less effort. I started sleeping better, and eating healthier, which led me to actually shedding a few extra pounds. I started to notice the beautiful scenery around me, and stopped to talk to familiar faces along the way. My entire mood lifted (hello, endorphins, I can feel you, now!), and I started to see running as more of a treat rather than a punishment for what I drank the night before. I also had extra money in my bank account (from no longer buying all the wine) that I could spend on race entries!
But then I started to wonder, "where are all the other sober runners at?"
I knew there were more people like me out there, and I wanted to find them. Like, I REALLY wanted to find them! It started off slowly in January 2021, with just a handful of my friends who I asked to join Recovery Road Runners to get the group started. And here we are, 9 months into the journey of RRR and with over 500 people in the Facebook group. I think I've found what I was looking for: a group of sober runners who GETS IT! RRR has become an amazingly supportive, inspiring, friendly, and welcoming group. We now train together, talk on the phone and text, share photos, meet up for video chats throughout the week, celebrate the races we've completed, and we share our sobriety milestones together (chip night!). RRR is a sober running family, and I hope that you'll join us if you haven't already. Because the best part about it is the connection with like-minded folks, just like you, just like me. :)
About the Author
Amber Cano is the founder of Recovery Road Runners, a community for athletes committed to recovery from alcohol and other addictions.