Was a drug addict, died in a car accident, spent time in prison – but running has become a way to normal life

On the new York marathon, held last Sunday in the US, there was a team for which running is not just a sport, but part of the road to a normal life. The team of the rehabilitation centre Odyssey House is unique – its members in the past suffered from alcohol and drug addiction.

Photo: odysseyhousenyc.org

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Of the 45 runners team Odyssey House 19 people at the moment are treated from addiction in the center. The rest – the support group and former wards. Over 19 years in the new York marathon was attended by more than 500 patients.

Ryan Stevens is 36 years old and this is the fourth marathon of her life. At 22, she became dependent on prescription opioids to his mother. This opened the door to ecstasy and cocaine. In June, she graduated from the recovery program in a rehabilitation center, and running became part of her treatment.

“I love how I feel after a run, says Ryan. At first I think, “I really don’t want to go for a run.” But I know how good I will feel after it. Run replace the crank, for which I used drugs”.

Odyssey House chief Executive John Tavolacci participated for the 22nd marathon. He organised a running session at the center in 2001, as I was sure that this is an effective way to overcome addiction. Jogging increases self-esteem in patients center creates a supportive environment and fills time that otherwise could be spent on negative lessons.

Photo: Nick Regina / silive.com

John Kane, 47 years old, his treatment at the center came to an end about 5 months ago. He became dependent on prescription opioids about 20 years ago, and then got hooked on heroin. According to him, the team gives him a drive that remains with him when he films a pair of running shoes.

“Hard work, perseverance, dedication – all this can be transferred into everyday life – as well as the formulation of goals, this goal and its achievement,” John says.

Andrew Casares was 19 years old when he began to use heroin. He died in a car accident, spent time in prison and then went to Odyssey House. It has a 3-year-old son and 4-month-old daughter, and recently Andrew began to study for a degree in heating and air conditioning. “I want to be with my son. I want to be with my daughter. I want to be free.”

Photo: odysseyhousenyc.org

Running helps, but of course he will not save you from all problems. Laura Thompson, one of the wards of the rehabilitation center, ran in the team Odyssey House in 2011. In January of this year she died of a drug overdose. She was only 35 years old.

Team Laura led coach Andrew Matthews, who met a woman on a treadmill in a medical center, where she lived together with her little son.

For coach Andrew Matthews’s 21st marathon. He’s 58 years old and the last 2 decades, he lives without drugs. Even after his recovery, he left Odyssey House and considers her work here as a part of rehabilitation.

Andrew Matthews and Sylvia Hyman. Photo: Nick Regina / silive.com

“These are parallel processes: you grow and Mature in the process of rehabilitation and at the same time continue to participate in the life of the people during their rehabilitation. It also brings you benefits.”

“It’s a miracle, says John Tavolacci. – Some members of our team were in jail last year, and now they participate in the new York marathon.”

According to the materials of The New York Times Silive.com

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