MMA fighter Claudia Gadelha is on the brink of winning the title if she can defeat Joanna Jedrzejczyk on December 13. Gadelha has her work cut out for her going up against the undefeated Jedrzejczyk. Winning the title is something of a dream for Gadelha, who 10 years ago led a very different life.
In a recent interview with Tatame Magazine, the fighter talked about the drug addiction that almost destroyed her life as a teenager. As a 15 year old growing up in Brazil, Gadelha did any drug she could get her hands on, from marijuana to cocaine. Problems at home led the teenager to look to drugs to deal with the emotional pain. Her life revolved around going out and getting drunk or stoned until sports came into the picture.
Gadelha found a healthy focus and discipline in being an athlete. Even though her mother forbade her from being an athlete, Gadelha was so passionate about her new calling she would sneak away to a nearby gym to workout.
Participating in sports and martial arts gave the young athlete a new perspective on life. Instead of being motivated by drugs and alcohol, she found that training helped her deal with things in a much better way.
As her involvement in sports intensified, Gadelha found that using drugs and drinking only got in the way of her performance abilities. She says that her life took a complete turn after sports came into the picture.
In 2008, Gadelha eventually went from being a jiu jitsu champion to practicing mixed martial arts. She trained with Jair Lourenco at Kimura Nova Uniao sports school where losing match after match helped her realize where her weak points were and what she had to focus on to be a better fighter.
Gadelha is focused on the upcoming match on December 13, saying it is the culmination of her 10 year dream and a belt that she has worked hard to deserve. She is determined to do everything she can to bring the title home to Brazil.
How Staying Active Can Help With Recovery
Gadelha's story of how getting involved in martial arts and other sports helped her fight a serious drug habit is a good example of how finding a physical outlet during recovery can be a valuable tool. There are numerous other stories of how addicts and alcoholics struggling to stay sober found the support and strength they needed by practicing sports.
Sober support communities that offer free athletics, as well as other sober groups that practice group sports like hiking, climbing, cycling, and other activities are scattered across the country. People who are new to recovery or just struggling to stay sober say joining these communities can be a godsend.
Here they find a healthy outlet for emotions and energy, as well as a group of supporters going through the same experience. Most of all, participating in these activities is fun and shows how life after getting sober is all about improving yourself and being healthy. It's also a good way to build new friendships with others leading a sober lifestyle.
You don't need to aim for a gold medal or belt like Gadelha to get started. Being an athlete can be a serious lifelong pursuit, or simply a way to stay in shape both physically and mentally. The first step to getting started is by picking an activity that interests you and connecting with others. The rest will happen naturally.