Should my recovering alcoholic brother in law take up running?

My brother in law is as above. I have been so pleased with my own running progress over the last year, that I have been extolling the virtues of running to all and sundry. My brother in law has now asked me how I started (NHS Coices C25K) Well, I gave him the information and then wondered whether I did the right thing. My thinking was that excercise is always a good thing but is it so good with a recovering alcoholic??


  • Huh?

    Why wouldn't it be? I can't think of any reason why any able bodied person shouldn't start running. I can't see any reason why an alchy can't start running either, there's at least two current threads on here about that now, "on the wagon for January" and some other alchy thread I forget the name.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    I'm no expert but he's no doubt given his body a bit of abuse, so the best person to visit first is probably his GP for a proper once-over.  If there are no particular risks from partaking in rigorous exercise (starting off very slowly, obviously) I'd say go for it.  Running's a pretty good diversion for someone with an addictive personality.  Good luck to him.

  • a psychologist friend once told me that therapists sometimes discourage recovering addicts (heroin in his case) from taking up running because they develop unhealthy levels of addiction to running, as they did with drugs.

    but i told him her she was talking bollocks.

  • Dude - Him/her ? Have way through the op ??

  • * Half way through the op ?? 

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭
    the dude abides wrote (see)

    a psychologist friend once told me that therapists sometimes discourage recovering addicts (heroin in his case) from taking up running because they develop unhealthy levels of addiction to running, as they did with drugs.

    but i told him her she was talking bollocks.

    It's not as much bollocks as you think. Anyone with an addictive personality can transfer that addiction to something else 'quite easily'. I've known a friend who was a smoker and gave that up, started running and replaced the buzz they got from smoking with running.

    As Philpub said - first bet is the doctor to make sure that they're OK.

  • I think I will ask him to see his GP first. Thanks for the replies.
  • EmmyH - THAT part of it I agree with image i just disagreed that it was necessarily a bad or unhealthy thing to do so.


  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Interesting.  I suppose a healthy addiction is better than an unhealthy one.  What's the worst that can happen?  Would an obsessive newbie runner be more likely to get injured? 

  • an alcoholic is also likely to have other addictions - smoking usually.  if he smokes he needs to pack that in as well to help him exercise easier - better lung function etc - but can he pack 2 vices in??  

    I would also think running will accelerate his liver recovery but he needs medical advice first

  • my guess is that swapping one addiction from another does not address the possible emotional issues driving the addiction in the first place. does not get to root cause, just alters the source of the buzz.

    it is undeniably more healthy physically, less so emotionally.

  • Depends on the root cause a lot of folks out there have a trauma or some other deep rooted cause for there addiction and have issue's trying to deal with it. Just in case your brother in law reads this the key work is deal not confront it. That can be dangerous depending on situation and something a self help self stiled cockwomble guru says in a book just before they take your money and run. For other's it's simply there brain chemistry that cause's the issue so they are a lot more prone to an addiction. Every situation is different and should be treated different. Running can be addictive and thing it is a lot more addictive than a lot of the folks who use this site are willing to admit.

    If your Brother in law is interested I can't see any harm in it preoccupying his time and the distraction might be very useful. There is a misconception in a lot of people about alcoholics that they can just not think about alcohol and that's that. The chances are he is desperately trying to think about anything other than booze at the moment and to warn you that might never go away just become manageable to him. If your able and he's ok with it the social aspect would be very useful as well if your able to go out for a run together at his pace or know other's who can.

    Just make sure he is ok's by a doctor first.

  • As subtle as ever Nick. You need to learn when to joke and when to be serious. You got it wrong this time

  • that's a new one on me. translate?

  • thanks. crikey that's a bit strong!

  • Nick - YAAT
  • When I saw a therapist I told him I was using a positive addiction to keep me focused.  There wasn't too much concern apart from me saying I was addicted to running which was not what I meant it was just something that kept me out of trouble! Anyway, I am far happier when focused on running and stops my mind from wondering.

    Nick - I enjoyed the joke (but then i'm not an alcoholic).  I also appreciate other people's concerns for how it may not be enjoyed or in good taste.  

  • There is no such thing as a healthy addiction, it's just that some are more unhealthy than others. 

    You say he is a recovering alcoholic? To what degree? Is he just going cold turkey? Is he being helped by CDAT or similar? Is he on meds to combat the effects of alcohol withdrawel? Was he a functioning alcoholic or nearer to the sterotype of park benches and cans of special brew? How long has he been dry?

    All of those questions are relevent before anyone can even begin to offer an opinion. 

    But one of the big problems that many recovering alcoholics have is that drinking was their social life and took up much of their spare time and they need something to replace that. Running quite easily could and would fill those voids and longterm there is no reason why ultimately they shouldn't but in the short term it could still be a bad idea.


  • If he wants to, and if he hasn't wrecked his body too badly, then its a hell of a lot better than starting drinking again.

    Hope he manages to stay on the wagon- it's a tough one- similar trouble in my family too.

  • Coming off the booze is a brutal experience. You can stop taking heroine, go cold turkey....done. Stopping taking alcohol can cause death; he needs all the support you are able to give. Booze will kill you slowly, painfully and pervasively. I cannot imagine how running could be worse!

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