Gary running 131 miles to tackle ‘shame of addiction’

A Londonderry man, who set up an addiction recovery service, is running five marathons in five days to raise awareness of the shame many addicts feel, which may then prevent them seeking help.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 11:35 am
Gary Rutherford, founder and programme director at ARC Fitness

Gary Rutherford founder, and programme director of ARC Fitness, is undertaking the challenge to highlight ARC’s new ‘No Shame’ campaign.

On top of the 131 miles he’ll be running from May 24–28, Gary will also be wearing a 22lb weight vest to symbolise the heavy burden of shame that often acts as a barrier to recovery.

ARC Fitness was first launched in 2019 by Gary, a registered mental health nurse and a qualified personal trainer. The non-profit organisation seeks to give individuals, who are recovering from addiction, the opportunity to focus on improving their mental and physical wellbeing through physical activity, professional support, and re-connection with community.

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Gary said the group’s ‘No Shame’ campaign seeks to change the conversation that surrounds addiction and challenge the existing stigma, shame,

discrimination, and blame that can often stop someone from seeking the support that is available to them.

He said: “I myself suffered from addiction for the better part of 15 years and one of the biggest barriers for me in seeking out the available support was shame. It felt like a weight around my neck that constantly kept me down.

“Breaking that shame was such a vital step in my journey to recovery.crimination, and blame that can often stop someone from seeking the support that is available to them. Our hope is that through ‘No Shame’ we can humanise addiction, empower individuals on their journey to sobriety.”

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