Friday, June 05, 2009

Redemption for Eddie Freas: replacing an unhealthy addiction with a better one!

CNN brings us a story about athletic redemption: Eddie Freas, a raging alcoholic addicted to both pot and cocaine as well hit bottom after a three-day binge.

While lamenting his situation in tears, he did what most losers do, he turns on the TV to "Oz-out" the hangover. Luckily enough the channel was set to ESPN who was doing a story on a guy named Todd Crandell who liked doing this fringe sport called the triathlon. Doing this sport also got him off drugs.

In fact, this particular sport got Crandell who had a drug problem like Freas, completely off drugs. From CNN:

"His whole story seemed like mine," Freas said. "That's why it hit me so much. It was my story but it happened to somebody else. I knew I had to get back into fitness."

He took a bus to Racing for Recovery's office in Sylvania, Ohio. There, Freas said he learned to "stay clean and use other things -- fitness, instead of drugs." On his first day, Freas pushed himself to run 10 miles.

"It killed me," Freas said. "I was just motivated. I was sore for a week and I gradually got into it. As soon as I started including fitness into my everyday lifestyle, it made it so much easier. It kept me busy and because of the physical fitness, it was making me feel better about myself."

He pushed himself to run farther and raced in his first Ironman competition in 2008.


Of course CNN has to wreck it and states that exercise has antidepressant effects hence his recvovery but I think they miss the obvious. Isn't "having fun" an antidepressant?

OK, a show of hands: Who did a triathlon after seeing Julie Moss crawl accross the finish line in the 1981 Ironman Triathlon on Wild World of Sports.


Anonymous said...

Sure, it's having fun. But it is also a fact the body releases chemicals during exercise that are known mood enhancers. Many psychiatrists are turning to exercise, rather than or in combo with, meds for their patients. Some clinically depressed can get off their meds with regular exercise. Swimming, sound body and mind.

Tony Austin said...

I don't doubt that the chemicals are there and being released en masse during periods of exercise.

I suspect that exercise is probably better for you than a self-help book too.

However, there are people who don't like exercise, do not enjoy it and get no chemical stimulation from it whatsoever.

Now put these people in front of a TV while a "Star Trek marathon" is in progress or in a costume at a "Japanese anime Convention" and I am sure that their chemicals are bouncing around inside their brains like Pacman,

Rebeca said...

33-year-old Eddie Freas from Pennsville, New Jersey has found relief for himself in triathlons after being addicted by drug and alcohol for his past 20 years.