The Phoenix Multisport Sober Active Community began in Boulder, Colorado as a nonprofit gym for people actively working towards their recovery. With three in Colorado, one in Orange Country, one in Boise, Idaho, and one in Boston, Massachusetts, the program is rapidly expanding to cities around the nation. Phoenix Multisport’s beta program, Human Strength, is also gaining traction within the fitness community as a CrossFit program tailored to welcome people with 48 hours of sobriety free-of-charge in order to channel their energies into a positive, healthful activity.
“Philly is the biggest Human Strength [community] so far,” said Gavin Young, a trainer at Fearless Athletics, a specialty CrossFit gym located in South Philly. Young, who himself entered recovery nine years ago, said the program is popular in part because the participants hold one another accountable to their recovery. “There are people that come in counting days,” Young said. “And they keep showing up.”
Melody Schofield was always active during her addiction, and her proclivity for physical activity has been a huge part of her recovery. Schofield began exploring CrossFit programs about a month into her recovery, and helping found Fearless Athletics as a trainer. Schofield sees the gym community as integral in the social aspect that addressed through successful recovery, as it offers the same human interactions one might facilitate in a bar or club environment. Her role as a trainer has helped her own recovery as well as encourage that of others, “This is who I always wanted to be during my addiction…It’s been the best year and seven months of my life.”
“We’re athletic trainers,” Young stressed. “Not sponsors.” Schofield and Young consider CrossFit as an effective supplement to AA and NA, not as a replacement for traditional modes of recovery. The Human Strength program at Fearless Athletics pairs cardio and gymnastics with both traditional and Olympic weight lifting in order to train all parts of a participant’s physic – which is why the 48 hours of sobriety is necessary for participation. Schofield and Young look at the program as a “welcome back” to sobriety and a welcome to recovery, and receive most of their clients from within the recovery community by word-of-mouth and social media campaigns.
“One class is never enough,” Young said. “This is meant to keep people coming back.”