Recovering drug users are using exercise to help overcome their addictions through a unique recovery program.
“I love it,” Trevor Blose says. “Nothing feels better than getting out and sweating a little bit and showing yourself you can do something maybe you couldn’t do a month ago.”
Blose is battling a drinking problem that cost him his freedom.
“Unfortunately, because of my actions, I had to go to jail for a little bit,” he says. “There’s nothing as eye opening as seeing the person you think you are being in a place surrounded by people who you don’t think you are.”
In an attempt to take control of his life, Blose now surrounds himself with other recovering addicts at The Phoenix in downtown Denver, a self-described “free sober active community,” where the only membership fee is 48 hours of continuous sobriety.
“The people here saw value in me before I saw value in myself,” says Andrew Brough, manager of The Phoenix’s Denver chapter.
Brough says The Phoenix has help more than 2,600 people at their chapters across the country. He says that the toughest part of this recovery program is taking that first step.
“We always say that door weighs a couple thousand pounds the first time you come in here,” Brough says. “But if you can get in here and experience that first Phoenix moment for yourself, it’s going to make a world of difference.”
Some healthcare specialists, however, claim exercise alone isn’t enough overcome addiction. They say though being active can help, it’s just part of very complex road to recovery. Instead, counselors advise using exercise in addition to more traditional approaches like medicine, therapy and a 12-step program.
“I’d been to multiple rehabs and AA, and I tried everything and it just didn’t work for me,” says member Drew Johnson.
Johnson, who has tried various recovery programs available, says exercise is the only thing that’s worked for him.
“I was a hardcore opiod addict,” Johnson says. “It started off with prescription pills and then it transformed to IV heroin use.”
Johnson says The Phoenix has helped him get a grip on handling addiction. He’ll be sober for one year on July 4.