2012′s most popular posts #5 – 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.