Running group helps women with addiction

A running group in Ottawa is celebrating finish its second race this past weekend - but it's also doing a lot more.

A running group in Ottawa is celebrating finish its second race this past weekend – but it’s also doing a lot more for some of its members.

The Amethyst Women’s Addiction Centre’s running group is made up of counsellors and clients from Amethyst, a centre that supports women in need of help.

Suzanne Hotson, a runner and community volunteer, coordinates the group that started in the spring of 2011. Hotson strongly believes running can both establish a healthy lifestyle and in goal setting, which are both important for women currently undergoing counselling for addiction issues.

“I think setting a goal to complete a race shows you how you can overcome obstacles to succeed in something you put effort into,” says Hotson. “For women currently going through the recovery process, completing a race like this can really show that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.”

The running group is the first time Amethyst has featured a program connected to physical fitness. The group completed the Richmond Road Race on Sunday, a 5K race in Ottawa.

“Participants find that when you train to run 5 kilometers you practice patience and perseverance, which is a skill that is useful in other areas of your life too. It is a healthy strategy for stress relief and very rewarding to do in a group setting,” says Hotson.

Both counselors and clients make up the running group.

“The running group has really illustrated how helpful goal setting is in both a fitness and recovery context,” says Gundel Lake, a counsellor at Amethyst and running group participant. “Not only has this group given me motivation to make healthy changes in my own life, but it has also given the women currently undergoing counselling for addiction treatment proof that they can successfully accomplish anything they put their minds to which is extremely helpful in the most important goal of all-recovery.”