Joy takes many forms. To a guy like Jimmy Ernst, joy is sweating profusely on a Friday night in an old warehouse looking building off Highway 24 in Colorado Springs.
"It was kind of refreshing that there was a place I could go to – being an addict – and I could push out all of my aggression and all of my stresses and all of my worries that I’ve done in my past," said Ernst. "I’m proud to be here – it feels good."
That place is The Phoenix Sober Active Community and multi-sport. And it looks like any other cross fit gym but it’s much more to these happy souls. Every single person who participates at The Phoenix is clean and sober from drugs and alcohol and they plan to stay that way. Your regular twelve step program this is not. The Phoenix welcomes any and all but require only that you have been clean and sober from drugs or alcohol for 48 hours before entering one of their classes. The non-profit was founded in Boulder, has three locations in Colorado is expanding nationwide.
You can contact your local Phoenix Gym right here: https://thephoenix.org
And it’s more than just cross fit and working out: the programs include rock climbing, mountain biking, yoga and surfing.
Under the watchful eye of managers Kaley and Todd Jones, the gym is filled with those seeking a new life and recovery.
Trainers and managers alike all struggle with addiction every day, like Chris Hoppe, who owns Progressive Cross Fit with his mom, Beth.
"I didn’t necessarily drink every day but when I drank I was a black out drinker and then I started to wake up in jail, wake up in the hospital, wake up and had wrecked cars, in different cities and things like that and so basically my life became unmanageable."
Hoppe knows his student’s struggle with addiction first hand and like those he trains, he needed more than just talking in a counseling room to get clean.
"It’s cool to have The Phoenix to show people like, ‘hey there is a different way, you don’t just have to beat yourself up there is a nice mesh of the two.’"
"The answer that we are looking for for addiction of any kind is community – bottom line – you need to be plugged in to other people with the same issue and the same problem. Then you can kind of create a form of solutions and that’s what works – it’s proven to work. To be able to provide a physical outlet as well as a recovery outlet at the same time – you kill too birds with one stone."
If you or someone you love needs help with substance abuse or addiction call:
Alcoholic Anonymous: 303-322-4440
Narcotics Anonymous: 303-822-DRUG
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-237-TALK