Jocelyn DeWalle ready to run May 7 in the Vancouver BMO half marathon, a race which jogged vivid memories of her journey overcoming drug addicion. Photo contributed

Jocelyn DeWalle ready to run May 7 in the Vancouver BMO half marathon, a race which jogged vivid memories of her journey overcoming drug addicion. Photo contributed

Running gives a new high

For one Terrace runner it’s part of her therapy in overcoming drug addiction

Conquering the BMO half marathon in Vancouver May 7 included a poignant reminder for one Terrace resident of how running helped turn her life around.

The vivid reminder came at kilometre 18, when Jocelyn DeWalle hit what runners call ‘the wall’ — feeling exhausted and ready to give up.

But as she struggled to push through, DeWalle glanced up at a restaurant looming on the side of the road and there, emblazoned on a huge sign, was the word ‘CHANGE.’

For her, it ignited memories of her journey the last five years, battling through drug addictions and rebuilding her life after a difficult six months of treatment.

“It was so cool!” DeWalle said of the sign for change.

“I was like ‘yeah! That’s what I’ve done! This is why I do what I do,’” she said, adding that it gave her the extra push to “just get her done” and complete the 21-kilometre half marathon.

“In that moment I was [feeling] like ‘I can’t do this, I can’t do this’ … kind of like when I thought ‘I can’t get clean, I can’t get clean,” she said.

Now five and a half years clean, DeWalle says she ‘hit rock bottom’ and started treatment in 2011, following eight years of addiction.

It started subtly, with a number of years dabbling in drugs in high school here in Terrace, then in Edmonton when her family moved there. It slowly progressed to eventually consume her life.

“I lost everything,” she said, explaining how in 2011 she lost her job, crashed her car, and had no more contact with her family because she’d alienated them.

But finally, as she sat alone in her Vancouver apartment, she came to point of desperation for change.

That’s when her mom called saying there was a bed for her in the Westminster House, a treatment centre for women in New Westminster, and though she struggled to believe change was possible, DeWalle chose to take that step.

Part of the six-month treatment program was finding healthy activities to fill the void, such as exercise, and it was through that DeWalle started running.

Asked about a training regime, DeWalle says she tends to ‘fly by the seat of her pants,’ and its more a regular decision to make that healthy choice.

“It’s my de-stressor,” she said, adding that it also makes her feel good about herself and it gives her that physical boost of energy and happiness.

“A drug high and a runners high have a lot in common,” she said, noting how exercise releases what is known as the happy-drug (dopamine) which substances will mimic.

“The difference is that running won’t give me a hangover, empty my wallet, give me a criminal record or burn my life to the ground,” she said.

But while in some ways running can be ‘a new high,’ it is also evident that DeWalle has kept running from become an addiction itself. Instead, she uses it as a tool to be a productive member of society and a good mom to her two young daughters, ages one and four.

“It helps me be a better mom,” she said. “I don’t have to, say, at the end of a long day, sit down and pour myself a glass of wine… I can go out there for an hour, and come home and feel revitalized and make dinner and be a better mom for my kids,” she said.

DeWalle’s husband, Steve Bodenbender, says he can appreciate the way his wife uses running to de-stress.

“It’s a meditation for her, where she can just sort of clear her mind and sort of calm herself if she’s had a rough day or whatever,” he said. “She’ll just go for a run, and come back feeling a little bit better.”

And he relates to her need for that de-stressing activity, he said, adding that for him it simply takes a different form.

“When I’m hiking a mountain or something like that, I find myself in the moment and not thinking about some of the (stresses of life). I just feel like it’s me and God’s earth and nothing else really matters at that point in time,” he said. “So I can relate to how she runs and I could feel the same way.”

Ultimately Bodenbender is proud of his wife.

“There’s no shame in where you’ve come from,” he said.

“It’s about being proud of what you’ve accomplished and where you are at today.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Jocelyn DeWalle runs the final stretch of the recent Spring Classic Fun Run organized by the Centennial Christian School. Photo contributed

Jocelyn DeWalle runs the final stretch of the recent Spring Classic Fun Run organized by the Centennial Christian School. Photo contributed

Jocelyn DeWalle, middle, gathers before the recent Vancouver BMO with friends Kristine Ewald, Brenna Sterner, Trish Nicoli, and Raina Trappl (L-R). Photo contributed

Jocelyn DeWalle, middle, gathers before the recent Vancouver BMO with friends Kristine Ewald, Brenna Sterner, Trish Nicoli, and Raina Trappl (L-R). Photo contributed

Just Posted

The report prepared by Independent Investigations Office of BC said that no offence was committed by the police officer from Lisims/ Nass Valley RCMP detachment while responding to a stabbing incident that led to an in-custody death. (Black Press file photo)
Nass Valley RCMP officer cleared in October 2020 police-involved death

Independent Investigations Office of B.C. concludes no offence committed by police officer

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising five years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Back Row, Left to Right: Laura Archibald, (teacher), Sarah Engdahl, Victoria Cho, Bronwen Bennett, Briana Simms, Jalynn Gibson, Sydney Harris, Braya Kluss, Valentina Protheroe, Isabella Gibson, Emily Hart, (teacher). Front Row, Left to Right: Collin Maillet, Hannah Hansen, Layla Loutitt, Isabella Kossler, Zadie Kietzmann, Izzie Croot, Deanna McDicken, Hope Misner. Missing: Brianna Onstein, Makenna Harris. (Submitted Photo/Tracey Hart)
Terrace’s Art in Motion Dance earns accolades at Prince George Dance Festival

The group earned a total of 21 trophies during the competition

A temporary fix to erosion problems on Lanfear Hill has been approved. (Ben Bogstie/Terrace Standard)
City to spend $360,000 on temporary hill fix

Will restore pedestrian and cycle use of Lanfear Hill

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. sees 873 more COVID-19 cases Tuesday, decline continues

Hospitalizations up to 377, two more deaths for 1,515 total

Two men walk past a sign on Main Street in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calls for government transparency in COVID data continue as B.C.’s 3rd wave wears on

Social media, where both information and misinformation can spread like wildfire, has not helped

Two men were seen removing red dresses alongside the Island Highway in Oyster Bay. (Submitted photo)
Observers ‘gutted’ as pair filmed removing red dresses hung along B.C. highway

Activists hung the dresses to raise awareness for Indigenous Murdered/Missing Women & Girls

A grey whale off the coast of Vancouver Island is being monitored by Canadian and U.S. researchers, as it has developed lesions after being tagged last year. To try and prevent systemic infection from developing, the team administered antibiotics to the whale on March 31 and April 1. (Photo from the NOAA Fisheries website)
Grey whale off Vancouver Island develops lesions after being tagged, researchers monitor its condition

Canadian and U.S. whale experts administered antibiotics to the animal on March 31, April 1

Sharis Carr, a nurse at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Service Center in Clarksdale, Miss., holds a box containing doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday, April 7, 2021. The U.S. is recommending a “pause” in using the single-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to investigate reports of potentially dangerous blood clots. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
EXPLAINER: What’s known about COVID vaccines and rare clots

These are not typical blood clots – they’re weird in two ways

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Most Read