Paige Taylor is a copywriter from Columbus, Ohio who is in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. As getting clean drastically changed her life, she’s now dedicated to helping others struggling with addiction to find their path to recovery.
She reached out to me after reading some of the other stories on this blog of others who have healed through the power of dance. I was more than happy to share her story too. Hers is another great example of how dance, even in the form of a fitness class, can have a beautiful and positive effect on a person’s life.
The road to my recovery from drug and alcohol addiction was anything but easy. There were many bumps along the road, but I can finally say that now I am clean and sober. I could not have done this on my own. After my time in drug rehab, I started a Zumba class. At first, I was just looking for something to do besides go to the bar with my old friends. I had always liked dancing, but I’d never tried a formal dance class.
After a while, I found that not only was I having a blast going to Zumba twice a week at the dance studio down the street, but it was actually helping me in my recovery. Here’s how:
1. It Helped Alleviate My Stress
I have a crazy, hectic life, and one of the reasons that I turned to drugs was because I wanted to alleviate my stress. Zumba has allowed me to do this in a healthy way. Nothing helps me more after a stressful day at work than stepping into Zumba class. When they turn off the lights, turn on the black lights, and start the loud, pumping music, I can feel all of the stress leaving my body.
2. I Get Better Sleep
Sleeping problems were one of the things that made the early parts of my recovery difficult. I was so used to passing out drunk or high that it was difficult for me to get the correct amount of sleep without drugs or alcohol. My sleep was erratic at best. Ever since I started Zumba, however, it’s been easy for me to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night. When I come home from a Zumba class, I always get better quality sleep as well.
3. I Have More Energy
When you’re addicted to drugs, you’re constantly used to taking a substance when you need more energy. So when I first got clean and sober, I was exhausted all of the time. I wasn’t getting the best sleep so it makes sense why I wouldn’t have had a lot of energy.
I always knew that exercising is a great way to increase your energy naturally. It’s good to get your blood flowing and get your body moving. So I joined a gym right after rehab. I didn’t make it to the gym as often as I should, though. Being on the treadmill was a boring form of exercise for me. Zumba is so much fun, it doesn’t even feel like exercise. I’m able to kind of trick my body into exercising.
4. I’m Much Healthier
It’s no surprise that with all the substances I used to do, I was doing real damage to my body. I suffered from a variety of conditions including high blood pressure, depression, and anxiety. I was also at a greater risk for developing diabetes, heart disease, certain forms of cancer, and osteoporosis. When I first got clean, I was worried that I would never be healthy again. However, Zumba has improved my health.
There have been many studies done to confirm that exercise is beneficial for recovery. Researchers have found that people who exercise while they are in recovery are more likely to complete their treatment. They are also more likely to stay clean and sober for life. I had my fair share of relapses every time I tried to get sober before, but ever since I’ve started Zumba, I finally feel like I’m not in danger of relapsing.
5. It Gives Me a Healthy Passion
One of the reasons I abused substances before is because there wasn’t really anything in my life that I was passionate about. I was really just bored all of the time. I felt empty. I felt like I needed the drugs and alcohol to give my life meaning.
Now, when I wake up in the morning on a day I get to go to Zumba class, I actually feel excited about life again. This new passion has seeped into other areas of my life as well. Not to mention, I’ve made some healthy, positive new friends at Zumba class.
My days have changed entirely since I found Zumba. Most people think of it as a fun activity or a cool way of getting exercise, but for me, Zumba may have just saved my life.