Ex-addicts staying sober through sport

Awesome. A very cool tribe within the recovering community.

More than 4,700 people have participated in Phoenix, which Scott Strode started in 2007. Most join the group because they’ve struggled with drug or alcohol addiction.

“Life should be better once you get sober,” said Strode, 38. “(We want to) help people build a new life, a new self-image and have fun without getting high.”

Phoenix offers around 50 programs every week, ranging from casual walks and yoga to mountain biking and ice climbing. Activities are led by field instructors, all of whom are in recovery and happy to show beginners the ropes. The organization provides the gear and also offers grants to help people purchase their own equipment. Nearly all events — with the exception of overnight activities or ski trips — are free.

“It’s a great way to introduce people into something that then later becomes … sort of their coping mechanism, as opposed to picking up a drink or a drug, ” Strode said.

He notes that Phoenix isn’t a substitute for any other recovery support program; in fact, many in the group are also in 12-step programs. But Strode believes the natural “high” that people get from Phoenix activities can be transformative.

Anyone who has been sober for 48 hours is welcome to come to one of Phoenix’s open sessions to participate in an activity and learn about the group. After attending several events, individuals are invited to join, provided they sign a pledge to treat everyone respectfully and stay sober. Some members are hard-core athletes, but the group welcomes people of all fitness levels. Most participants have never been active.

7 thoughts on “Ex-addicts staying sober through sport

  1. This is pretty sweet. I’d mos def back something like this in the A2 area. I have a few friends, AA members & part-time AA members, who got really into contact sports AFTER they got sober, both dudes are heavily involved in MMA. That’s never been my cup of tea but I do watch one friends fights when he posts ’em up on FB. They both say it’s helped them physically & mentally. And of course that makes sense. When I was sober for all those years I got really into running & working out. I ran in two organized races & even won a ribbon for third place in my age group! LOL! Five yrs before that I was choking on my vomit in the back of an ambulance! Hell, a year before that race I was smoking Marlboro’s, a pack a day! Most addicts know the importance of physical exercise in recovery, but how many of us joke about our “recovery bellies” repeating the “put down the pipe, pick up the fork” mantra?! Most of our friends & families co-sign that b.s. repeating another overused mantra, “at least he’s (she’s) not shooting dope & smoking crack!” LAME! That was also my excuse to keep smoking cigarettes! Thanks be to God for one year tobacco free last week! And yes, I DO intend to do something about this “recovery belly,” I’ll start tomorrow! LOL! (Where am I on the ‘stages to change?’)

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