From her perspective, Amy Doherty knows well the difference a life in recovery can make. She grew up in a home where her father’s alcoholism contributed to chaos, anger, and instability in her family life; but that began to change when she was twelve-years-old, and her father stopped drinking. Through a 12-Step program and his sculpting, her Dad’s recovery brought healing, love and security back to her family life.
Years later, Amy’s family recognized that her brother David was struggling with his own addiction to drugs and alcohol. They decided to do a family intervention through Gosnold on Cape Cod. Moved by the love and concern of his family, David immediately entered treatment at Gosnold and lived a happy and fulfilling life in recovery for seven and a half years before he tragically died from heart disease at age 39.
In 2010, after David’s death, Amy and her husband Sean (who were race directors of some local 5K’s) and the entire Lewis family, joined with Gosnold to host an annual road race and fundraiser, The David Lewis 5K – A Celebration of Recovery and Community.
It was also during that year that Amy, a competitive athlete and triathlete, was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. For three years Amy suffered the deterioration of her overall health, including losing her ability to exercise. While sick, she started doing yoga and began practicing meditation. Looking back, she realizes that her journey to recovery from Lyme disease would not have been successful without the total mind-body connection that was made possible through yoga, meditation and her regained fitness.
With her new connection to Gosnold, Amy wanted to share her total mind-body experience with people in recovery. She started volunteering at Emerson House, a residential treatment center for women, where she led a weekly walk/run with the women there. She quickly learned that during treatment the women were also taking yoga classes, going to the gym and learning about meditation. She heard many personal stories of how these practices were making a difference in these women’s lives, and sometimes were the determining factor in someone being able to find recovery and stay sober.
Given her own life experience, and by believing in the difference fitness and mindfulness could make, Amy was inspired to form a nonprofit organization that would offer these practices in a supportive and affordable, recovery community environment. Within eighteen months the WellStrong studio opened. Members of the local community helped support WellStrong’s opening, and many people in recovery jumped in to volunteer by sharing skills and experiences that made a difference in their personal recovery journeys. Many people in recovery, or whose lives have been affected by addiction and recovery, are “giving back” by teaching classes, helping at the studio, volunteering for events or being a member of WellStrong’s Board of Directors.
WellStrong offers a safe, supportive, sober environment that allows people in all stages of recovery to participate in activities that have been shown to reduce the rates of relapse. It offers a community of peers where people in long term recovery can offer hope and inspiration to those newly in recovery as they train, pose, meditate and breathe together. WellStrong is committed to helping each member create a healthy lifestyle, enhancing the quality of life that leads to a content, successful and sustainable life in recovery.