Archery has helped me in so many ways in my recovery, and I think it’s a safe and healthy way of fulfilling my reward-seeking tendencies of my inner addict.

I took up archery a good few years ago and shot with a recurve bow for about a year and a half. Skip forward to last year and I finally bought myself a bow. I had the choice to go recurve, which is what I knew and what I’d shot up until then, or go compound which I’d been around but never shot before. Looking at my options, I was interested in the PSE Stalker in recurve, and the Mission Craze II in compound. I Googled, and Googled, and read up, and pondered, and dreamed, and well you get the idea, until finally I had decided (having spoken to an archery store in my area) on a compound, for one, and that I had decided: I was getting the Diamond Infinite Edge Pro.

On the day I went to collect this beauty, I was so excited, and it wasn’t before long that I had unpacked my bow and was getting sighted in by the friendly professionals at Bow Time. After that was done, I was told to put around 200 arrows through it while it was set to 10m, 15m, and 20m, and then come back to have it re-adjusted. So I did just that and so my new love affair had begun (in your face, heroin!)!

He is named the Wraith (my homage to my Juggalo family love and the band Insane Clown Posse) and I’ve currently got him set on around 35#. He is super easy to adjust on my own, and the Gent even gets to share him (however I eventually made him buy his own arrows after he took out 3 of my first set on his own – but to be fair, he’d never shot a bow before the Wraith arrived)! I’ve also since purchased 3 new arrows (thanks Guns n Bows!) that are now color-coded to my theme of orange and black, and I’ve made the sling part of my paracord-wrist strap (just waiting on the leather for the yoke – I think that’s the word…).

Ok ok, I’ve rambled on long enough. “How has it helped your recovery?” you all but scream at me.

In the most basic sense, it’s helped refocus my mind.
In archery your mind has to be in the moment, in the present, on your shot. You have to concentrate on the target, on your bow arm, your draw arm, your anchor point, your trigger (if you’re shooting compound), your breathing, and while you’re thinking about all of that your mind also has to be clear. Sounds impossible, but it isn’t.

And it’s great!

Best part about it, it’s like a mini escape from all my thoughts every time I nock an arrow. And don’t forget, as an addict I am always seeking a reward-based actions and what better way than to compete against myself each round I take? I get to feel great when I hit that bullseye from 18m, I get to feel pumped when I outshoot my previous score, and I get to feel confident after logging my scores for a few weeks and seeing my progress on a graph I created. It’s all reward-based, man. It’s what we live for!

I have also learned to still myself and focus on my shot, it’s showing through my shooting which is improving daily. It’s a nice way to let off some steam if my BDP is acting up and I’m getting overly emotional in a bad way, and the daily routine of 5 rounds calms my anxiety and gets me going for the day in a positive way.

Now I know not everyone would be able to shoot in their back yard, I am very blessed to be able to, but don’t rule out going to the range to shoot. In fact I often wish I had the pressure of having to go to a range to shoot so I could set aside a good hour or so for my archery and maybe even some me time (something I’ve often neglected in my life) vs being able to pick up and fling some arrows at a whim (which is also great, don’t get me wrong). So what I’m saying is, don’t make excuses, go visit your local range and get started in archery. You will NOT regret it.

Soon I reckon I’ll be looking into bowfishing and maybe even some bow hunting! I could potentially afford to hunt an Emu or a Springbuck. One day…one day I’m sure.

How archery has helped my recovery
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