Program Links Workouts With Sobriety (The Wall Street Journal, 9/17/18)

Expanding nationally, Phoenix fitness centers are free and open to anyone who is clean for 48 hours

Emily Brawn stumbled as she attempted to kick opioids a few years ago. When she wasn’t at 12-step meetings, she grew isolated. “Days and days in your own head,” she said. “That is where the relapse starts.”

She is trying a new strategy. In early September, 90 days sober, the 29-year-old stepped into a gym in an industrial corner of Boston. Muscled people were warming up for CrossFit, surrounded by top-line equipment and a rock-climbing wall.

But this gym is different: It is free and its patrons are beating back drug addictions. The staff’s black T-shirts are emblazoned with celebratory statements about sobriety.

“Most of us are in recovery ourselves,” Kina Troy, a front-counter employee, told Ms. Brawn.

The nearly 11,000-square-foot gym is part of “The Phoenix,” a Denver-based string of fitness centers and programs for recovering drug abusers. 

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Analysis: At first glance this falls under the category of "No Sh.t". However, that reaction may be too simplistic. For non-addicts, it is important for treatment providers to understand that there are two key elements with respect to Exercise and how it helps. 1) Physical exhaustion, and 2) Mental exhaustion. Both help distract the addict from worrying about their next "fix" (drugs or alcohol), and help many related triggers, such as Boredom or Insomnia.

This program removes a key obstacle (and for addicts, no obstacle is too small to stop recovery) by providing the gym membership for free, IF you are sober. The sobriety period is very minimal (48 hours). Kudos to the Koch Brothers, and hopefully other entities will mirror them!

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