188: The Phoenix App for Movement in Recovery (Sort Of)

Ever heard of the Phoenix App? The one that lists local, free ways to get moving in a healthy way? We have Mark join Billy, Jason and Jenny to explore the Phoenix App. Available across the United States, and recently expanding outside of the U.S., the Phoenix App is an app available on Android and iOS (also with web access from computer) that shows the user what local events are going on. The events are forms of group movement or exercise, such as crossfit, yoga, and hiking. Persons in recovery are invited to attend any of these volunteer led classes completely free. Listen in as we learn more about the Phoenix App, and then share your thoughts with us.

In this episode:

The Phoenix website

The Phoenix App iOS

The Phoenix App Android

How to find us and join the conversation:






Email: RecoverySortOf@gmail.com

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recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or Fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature [Music]

welcome back it’s a recovery sort of podcast I’m Jason a guy who is trying to rise from some ashes and I’m Billy from person in long-term recovery I’m Jenny and I’m also a person in long-term recovery and today we have mark from the Phoenix thank you glad to be here Jenny I’m so glad you could come um so the Phoenix is this program it’s National Mark’s going to tell us about it but it’s a exercise fitness community for people in recovery and it has an app and I’ve done it and it’s really fun and cool I’m going to let Mark talk about it but first Mark tell us about you can you give us you know your story up into this point like you know like tell us about yourself sure so uh I’m a lifelong resident of Cecil County I was born and raised in Elkton and um you know I am in recovery as well uh I’ve been sober for almost eight years congratulations congratulations so July 6 2015 is um the day I gained my freedom so that’s awesome um I I went to Elkton High School um you know I would say that I was a teenage alcoholic and a lot of my friends were started you know as a freshman getting to go to parties with upperclassmen and doing all the things and experimenting with all the things and learning that there were you know girls we could Chase and and the next good time was only right around the corner and uh you know just I think that’s where you know my uh drinking started and um I I didn’t I was married young I got married at 21 and uh I didn’t drink a whole lot in my 20s but in my 30s I really poured it on um I think a lot of that was due to um you know losing family members that were really dear to me uh not dealing with things the way I should have um and just kind of spiraled on me um you know and as I look back now I think I was just unhappy with a lot of things in my life and uh you know I was doing all the things that go along with alcoholism you know so all the bad behaviors all the dabbling and other things and uh you know I realized that at some point you’re just not being who you really were meant to be and and the decisions you’re making are not in line with who your true character is and who you are at your core and you know I remember as far as my drinking was concerned just starting to feel Health ailments um just tired all the time grumpy Moody not being able to be the father you know that I wanted to be for my kids um still very engaged in their in their lives and active in their lives but just the quality wasn’t there you know I felt like crap all the time until I got the next drink and um I started thinking to myself this is not what I want to show them and I quit for six months and then went right back into drinking and probably went back three times as hard as I ever did yeah and continue to tell everyone else that I knew I was okay I didn’t have a problem I got this under control right that’s what we right that’s our excuse right we always say that and then um you know finally after return of some events of me just making more poor choices um my family had an intervention with me the the ironic thing is that I was ready as soon as I mean it was like yeah you’re right it’s time um I just you know a couple things that I noticed were under one of my ribs I just felt like I had a like a small balloon that was constantly just inflated slightly right which was probably my liver inflamed um is my guess I don’t know for sure but um you know heartburn constantly couldn’t sleep because of reflux um you know and then just all the mental things that go with it and like I said the misery the the grumpiness uh being tired and um you know I was always someone that was in pretty decent shape my entire life did a lot of weightlifting in my 20s and things like that and um I was getting out of shape gaining weight um just overall feeling horrible wasn’t um as effective at my job as I wanted to be and um you know I said it’s time to make a change and I went to to a couple of AAA meetings and I had an absolutely horrible experience there

you know God bless the person that was trying to help me but they were just not the right person for me to interact with and you know some some bad things kind of happened from that as far as digging too deep into my personal life and being very overreaching and controlling and it kind of scared me away you know but

somehow I still say stayed sober um you know I drop into meetings here and there I’ve reached out the first thing I did was I built a community so I had friends from high school and and friends that I knew in the community that were sober and had been through some pretty bad things um and I reached out to them how did you know to do that like without and can I even ask another question before you answer that I’m like what you said these people were sober and had been through things like people who used to have a problem yes with substance okay just wanted to clarify so um you know I I have a friend in Elkton um his his name’s Matt he’s very open about his his journey um and he speaks to um you know recovery groups and people in centers um and he he drank himself to the to needing a liver transplant you know um he was on death’s door yeah I know Matt I didn’t know that about him yeah and uh he um I reached out to him he was one of the folks that I reached out to um you know another good friend of mine Dave um I reached out to him um and just you know several other people um but you know I I knew them I just started to build stronger bonds with them and say if I need you can I run things by you and uh you know if I wanted if I want to find an activity to do that doesn’t involve drinking and just hanging out with somebody you know are you up for that and you know folks like that were and uh you know that’s one of the things that really helped me early on um and I got right back in the gym you know within a year um one of the biggest things that inspired me was uh you know once I was sober for a while I started looking at my bank account and I was like wow I have all this money it’s like well I guess when you’re not blowing 150 a night in a bar you you know amazing you have you have plenty of money and you know 150 then would probably be 250 or 300 now you know um so I wanted to to fulfill a dream that I had and that was to go on um a hunt in the Rocky Mountains you know um or a group of the Rocky Mountains right so I went to Montana and I did an elk hunt and um I knew it was going to be very physical um so I went to db4 Fitness

um my friend Jason Yates uh I think you know him don’t you um he’s from Chesapeake City but okay anyway he uh Jason he got sober about a year after me and uh anyway he he said hey I’ve been going to this great gym and uh you should probably try it out it’s this thing called CrossFit you ever done it and I said no I’ve never even heard of it he’s like just come check it out you know so I went into uh db4 Fitness and uh you know I did a class and um you know if people are unaware CrossFit is an hour-long session you come in you do a warm-up you do a workout that’s really intense um and then you get out of there right so it’s an hour long from from start to finish so I tried it and you know I remember walking through the door and thinking well how are these people gonna are they gonna know hmm what I am you know and no one knew and um you know it kind of stuck and everybody was great and I was like Wow have a community here you know after just a few sessions and then I was there for a few months um before someone finally said hey I heard you’re in recovery you’re getting sober and they were like I think that’s awesome they just turned around and walked away you know and uh I was like hmm that’s you know that makes me feel really good right so uh kind of stuck it out there um you know that place was very near and dear to me um and then my friend uh Chelsea she came through the doors one day and um you know I remember seeing Chelsea come in and she was scared to death and uh Chelsea ended up becoming probably one of the most talented athletes we had as far as skills with a barbell or a jump rope or um even determination to pick up something new and she lost I forget like just a ton of weight um complete transformation mentally as well right like her confidence level went through the roof mine was doing the same thing you know and uh Chelsea then moved back to um I think she’s I can’t remember she’s an Alabama or Miss anyway she’s Alabama Mississippi she’s down down south I’m pretty sure she’s in Alabama and um she you know she got another job with a Recovery Center down there and then not long after that she said hey I’m uh I got a new job with this place called The Phoenix and she said it they actually uh have an affiliation with uh CrossFit and I said really you know tell me more about that so

uh Chelsea said you know hey it’s this uh sober active community and and you know we just we need people to volunteer to to coach and offer opportunities for other folks in recovery or you know or attempting to be in recovery and all you need is 48 Hours of sobriety to take a class or to participate in the activity and I I mean I’m I didn’t even think twice about it I said I want to do this you know and I went to our gym owner Dave Blankenship and I said Dave you heard about what I mean I was like pretty fired up I said Dave you heard about this thing Chelsea’s doing you know my story I want to do this what do you think and he just said let’s go for it no questions just let’s do it so um you know I talked with Chelsea and she got me uh in touch with this guy Chris bellina who um uh you know works with the Phoenix and they uh they got a set up they got us oriented and and uh you know we started scheduling classes how long ago was that um just a little over a year okay yeah so because here’s how I first heard about the Phoenix so in my weekly recovery meeting my recovery time meeting some people started going and sorry so it was our mutual friend Jen and all she talked about was how fun it was she’s like oh you gotta come she was like we got to do the Phoenix it was on Sundays then and um and then I would encounter other people like uh through volunteering at voices and they’re like oh it’s so much fun the Phoenix is so much fun yeah and um I guess it was about a year ago so right away you started it people started going and they loved it it was it was CrossFit um but there’s other stuff in the Phoenix too I guess I’ll let you get into that you know it’s not just CrossFit yeah yeah I know we’re getting way ahead of us with like the particulars of the little things but I found it fascinating that it only takes 48 Hours as the requirement to exercise I would think like I’m just picturing back like my third day of detox and I was not ready for a CrossFit like that might have killed me in that moment a lot of sweating that’s kind of fascinating so uh a guy named Scott Strode who I don’t know but um he’s he and a core group of people are the ones that founded the non-profit Phoenix and he um you know he he’s you know in recovery um I think it’s like 25 years right now

but he started uh ice climbing and he said he got this intense feeling of success and accomplishment and that was the reason that he wanted to do this because he said I want others to feel that and for me you know I know that you know not just CrossFit but CrossFit and other things have really helped me in my recovery but you know the thing about CrossFit is that um the workouts are really intense and they require mental toughness just as much if not more than physical capabilities right because we can design a workout that anyone can do so there’s so much intimidation about the sport because people were like I can’t come in there and throw 200 pounds all over the place and I can’t jump up that high on that box and I can’t climb that rope and I can’t do this or that well a lot of people can’t you know but we have what we call options you know for them to do they’re scaled options um and we make it so that everyone can perform something you know and the concept is just to move and try to be better and uh the the accomplishment that I’ve got through that and you know you’re you’re doing something that’s really intense and your heart rate’s getting high and you’re sweating and just like everyday life you know your brain starts to tell you these stories you know you need to stop you can’t breathe you can’t do this anymore and the more and more you subject yourself to that the better it you know it makes you it makes you a tougher person mentally and then you get the physical benefits of of being healthy but to me the mental aspect is so much more important um so the Phoenix is just you know it’s not just CrossFit though there are it’s it’s just a sober active community so there may be hikes there may be yoga all different kinds of things right it’s just the concept is to get people moving and doing something that makes them feel better about themselves I I don’t want to come across as somebody who’s like negative about this idea I think it’s an amazing idea I guess just talking through some of the things that pop out to me um I imagine it would have to be a really fine line to try to walk with people with the the thing you’re talking about right and uh I guess it’s kind of on my mind our next recording is on perseverance so thinking about what you were just talking about and like for a group of people who in in my understanding at least um were very hurt and and we tend to skew towards like negative self views and and like kind of being hard on ourselves beating ourselves over pressuring ourselves to walk that fine line between like this is the healthy side of that line and this is perseverance and like getting stronger versus just beating the [ __ ] out of ourselves and like hurting ourselves and you know pushing it to too far I imagine that’s got to be a tricky thing for people in that that world to navigate and and maybe how do you as a coach or the instructor or facilitator in that environment kind of help guide that line so you know when I when I designed these workouts for for people um initially I did get some feedback that hey you’re you’re a little too hard on us and I and I had already had it kind of pulled way back right and uh you know so one of the things I did was I adjusted and just made multiple options for workouts depending on what the movements were and really really pulled them back to make them much more simple and just you know stick with the concept of just get moving a little bit right um

if you that’s you bring up a great point though right so I know for me as a male who had an Abu a substance abuse problem um and now that I’ve been in recovery for a while and you know I I always say that there’s a difference between being being sober and being in recovery the more that I’ve worked on the core of the problem and started to realize some of the things that got me where I was you know a lot of that’s ego driven

ego is something that you know when we get when we come to the gym for example even me now as as you know an athlete that’s been doing CrossFit for seven years um I have to check my ego right because I have to keep myself from getting hurt too you know I have my own limits that I have to not push and say hey you’re 45 you’re not 25. um don’t be a jerk and put too much weight on the bar or don’t do that movement without doing a proper warm-up beforehand you know um so when I see people come in the doors and um you know number one most of the time they’re scared um and then number two I want them to have a good experience you know so I try you know my goal I don’t know how well I do with this but my goal is just to have a good atmosphere for them and just to get them sweating a little bit just get them moving take their mind off of whatever’s going on right there could be a multitude of things that are bothering them that day and I’ve actually seen some folks that don’t have a lot of recovery time at all you know they’re very early or I’ve had a few folks come in and out and they’ve disappeared and like yeah that they relapsed and you know and then they show back up and um you know for me the goal is just get them moving and keep them safe you know don’t we don’t pull out the barbell a lot in in Phoenix workouts and I I keep it very limited to what I expose the group to um so that it is positive and no one gets injured you know the first class I went to was a barbell class that’s the only time I’ve been to a class for the head of our belt and I couldn’t even lift it I had to get one of the kitty ones yeah I was actually thinking the the tiered idea of having like the multiple options for people is almost in my mind at least that increases the mental toughness for people because it puts it on them like are you gonna choose that harder workout are you going to stay on this one you’ve been doing for 10 weeks right like it’s almost kind of gives them the safe boundary of where to explore for themselves I like that yeah and you find at least I’ve seen people get motivated by different things so like me I’m a person that’s like if I and maybe this comes over time with recovery like I’ve built up some resilience so if I try to do something and fall a little short I don’t just like give up and walk away I mean like I can’t do that like I sort of I ah I don’t know if it’s healthy or not but I like say I’ll say talk down to myself like come on quit being a wimp you gotta go for it like let’s go you can’t just give up now like and I’m okay with pushing myself in that way but not everyone’s able to do that or motivated in that same way so if I were like to say that to like let’s say my wife or my kid probably wouldn’t resonate as well with them you know as it does with myself so that’s probably a key indicator it’s not good for you either but just saying that might be the other side of the line I was talking about [Music] thank you [Music]

I think you hit on a key word though for people in recovery and that is positive self-talk um you know I’ve spent a lot of time in therapy over the past few years and I think I’ve would say that I’m further now in that window in recovery than I ever was and positive self-talk was huge and not being so hard on myself and allowing myself to fail and say that that happens and it’s okay you know um is really important

I like to call it self-compassion but same idea positive self-talk you know these messages of like just realizing more and more how much pretty much basically if I catch myself thinking I’m pressuring myself in some way shape or form to be better somehow or figure out something or get it right and and a lot of times if I really look close at that I’m trying to figure out some [  ] that is impossible to know yeah right oh what’s the best decision for me to make right now that in 10 years is still going to be the best decision and not have any drawbacks along the way right like it’s it’s just crazy how much I do that and and the recognition and the ability to give myself that that self-talk of like hey you don’t have to know that because nobody can [  ] know that and it’s all right and I think that’s you know that’s what sometimes a workout can show us I just have to get through the next so many minutes or so many reps without you know however only this many sense however yeah however it’s written right you know sometimes we I write a workout for this number of total repetitions you just get the work done or it’s this many minutes and do as many in that in those minutes as you can um and you know that mental mindset of I just have to get through this amount of time or this amount of reps it’s just it’s you know it’s very to me it’s very relative to I just have to say sober I got to get through this next hour of this situation without you know taking a drink or or you know using a substance or doing whatever it may be um so it’s very relative for me and it has been for a while you know you know I didn’t make the connection at first but and not to get off the topic of Phoenix here and just go totally with the working out but it makes me think of like what Billy just said about the idea of what works for him and it might not work for others and thinking about generally what has worked for me in my life my father was always big on like do the thing you don’t want to do most first right yeah not the yucky [ __ ] out of the way basically with food with anything and so generally in the gym especially on a goddamn leg day right get the squats out the way first like do the hard stuff but there have been days in the times I’ve worked out and not many but there’s days I go in and squats end up working better last for me that day yeah right so even I need to pay attention and deviate to my own self you know when things just feel a little different that day it’s okay and a lot of times in my life I haven’t had the understanding that it’s okay to deviate right it’s just it’s got to look this way it’s got to be here it’s got to go that direction um to get us back to the Phoenix recovery so you say they have you know more than just CrossFit it’s hiking it’s yoga like would you say it’s mostly CrossFit still at this point or is it branching out pretty well um it it just it just depends on where you are right um so in this area we have two CrossFit Gyms that offer the Phoenix right now okay um so I brought the Phoenix to Maryland first uh at db4 Fitness db4 Fitness has since closed um and you know I’ve transferred to CrossFit equity which is in the same Industrial Park and you know the owner there uh Barrack and his wife Krista they were didn’t even question I said hey can I would you mind if I brought this program would you be willing to to support me in that no F stands or buts yes just an immediate answer so um we’ve had a couple classes there so far uh the folks from CrossFit petram in Middletown they came to a couple of classes you know a few months back and they started the Phoenix in in Middletown there so we have that option and actually Chelsea and I have a couple of gyms on our our list to to drop in to uh you know to get that going and recently uh your friend Caroline yeah she she signed up as a volunteer um

she uh she got oriented as a volunteer and she wants to start doing some hikes and other things like that so again it’s not just about CrossFit it’s about um activities right so um the biggest thing is that the activity needs to be deemed safe you know so um they don’t want you going to a shooting range or things like that but you know um hiking cycling um just do an event at the park you know what I mean get people together and that’s how rowing on the app rowing yeah there’s so many different things um I was thinking of trying to get the movement and shooting like hey look Mark go down run behind the targets real quick while we’re all practicing that’s our movie you know but um you know and they want the environment to be not just physically but also emotionally safe right and um depending on where you are in in the country and now it’s at uh the Phoenix has actually gone International I don’t recall which countries it’s in but it has gone International now so but depending on where you are in the United States or you know overseas wherever um they have it use the app called The Phoenix and you just you pull the app up and it gives you activities that are within so many mile radius of you and there are all kinds of things to choose from and you just sign up and uh you know just to show up it’s free and now we got to pick on the website in the app unfortunately a little bit which I know isn’t your fault Mark um but I was trying to look this up this morning and when I go on the Phoenix website um unfortunately right now I guess it’s having some technical difficulties when you click on Maryland or Delaware it doesn’t show any available classes but then when you search by location delawares will come up but Maryland’s don’t so I don’t know how to I so I don’t have one active right now gotcha that might be why Maryland I’m getting ready to put another one in okay and I mainly do them week to week to week as I schedule because based on my availability right right that makes sense but I try to keep them every other Tuesday at 7 30. right so yeah the apps the the classes will show up they’re within a radius and you you just click on it register and you know and attend it’s that simple and all it takes to to get in the door is 48 Hours of sobriety so that’s the cost do you find that some of these are in like I don’t want to say normal gyms but the more typical gym with with the weights and the weight machines and everything are they more kind of out of those gyms and more in the CrossFit Gyms and Hiking there are a lot there are a lot of CrossFit spaces that do this okay yeah is that I imagine CrossFit seems to be I don’t know a better way to say this like easier to like organize a class like if you think of people going in you’re not going to have like 10 bench presses right yeah everybody’s presses right now everybody can do bench press so if you’re having a group or a class I imagine the CrossFit just fits that better because you have an organized instructed class well and Crossfit is focused on functional fitness the the concept of CrossFit the the reason that um CrossFit was you know kind of invented if you would I don’t know what you would say because there’s still a lot of movements that are used in other sports but uh the theory behind it was to promote fitness and health you know it wasn’t really about getting giant muscles or any of that it was just to promote fitness and health and there are so many functional movements that we teach and there’s such a variety of things it’s not only um you know physical and and you know used for training but it’s it literally is fun there are a lot of things we do that are fun you know um I definitely think the variety is one of the strengths because I’ve gone to I don’t know maybe like six classes and um we I don’t know that we’ve done many things twice and so that’s what keeps it fun and challenging and I’m learning so much like I didn’t know how to use that like those big giant heavy bags you like lift it up and throw it over your shoulder like that exercise I’ve never done that before so now I know that’s an exercise and um resistance bands like I had heard of them or seen them now I know how to use them like I know a couple moves to do at home um so the education part of how to work out because I’ve belonged to the Y for a couple years now but I have like barely stepped foot in the weight room because I’m like I don’t know what to do here but now I feel a little more confident like I know what to do with these dumbbells and such so and and the sandbag right think about how you can apply that in real life that’s why it’s called functional fitness you go to Walmart you have a big bag of dog food you need to take home you know seriously you you go through the remember you squat down you get yourself in a good position safely you know and then you get that thing up on your shoulder and carry it to the car you know that’s a great example thank you because when you said functional fitness earlier I wasn’t actually sure with that man finale yeah yeah I’m not gonna lie I was reading through my news feed the other morning and there was a news article that was talking about like you know for people who work out moves you definitely want to do as you get older in life and you want to keep your movement of you know able to get up off the floor and stuff like that if you get down there to play with your grandkids and like for the first time in my life I was like I actually kind of want to read this and learn this I’ve never cared before but yeah maybe I do want to be able to get up off the floor maybe that’s important instead of just squatting stuff and yeah it was funny so walk us through Mark if you don’t mind what it would be like uh if if you heard this episode and you said man I want to try this out and you you know went to a typical um Phoenix event what would that be like what do you don’t expect so we run a standard format right um everyone’s going to show up we’re going to get together in the beginning of the class and we’re going to go over um the rules of the Phoenix which you know they’re pretty simple just safety Community um recovery you know those kinds of things how to behave just you know like I say pretty simple and then we’ll do we always do an icebreaker question right um and sometimes I choose to make it deep and other times I choose to just make it fun right you know um like you know regular or double stuffed Oreos you know something something that simple you know or it may be a question that you know I want to challenge people to really reflect in the moment if they can but that’s you know the the thought behind that is just to get people’s Minds working so that they’re not worried about man I’m here and I got to do all this stuff in front of all these people and you know then we’ll uh we’ll we’ll go on to the floor and uh gather the equipment we need um you know like I said I’ll have the workout written I’ll go over that we’ll grab the equipment we need and we’ll do a work or a warm-up excuse me as a group and I’ll go through different warm-up movements that just get our blood flowing get our muscles in a in a you know in a state that they’re ready to actually do some work and then I’ll do some instructional things to show the movements that we’re doing and break the movements down um and and show them hey this is a progression so if the ultimate goal is we want to get to this full movement but there are three steps that it takes to get to it and if you can’t get all the way there then just stop at step one or two right and do that for the workout or we’ll give you something totally different to do and then we do uh the workout well we take a break you know so everyone can use the potty or whatever they need to do and then we go through the workout and then we clean up together do a little stretching and we get a picture of everyone uh holding the Phoenix Banner and we’re out of there so you know it’s an hour um a picture every class yeah a picture every class that’s interesting yeah yeah I guess it’s not

you said that people take their potty breaks I was thinking they’re getting their cigarettes in these are recovery people that is uh so we don’t we don’t allow um uh tobacco or e-cigarettes used during the workouts interesting or on the grounds that’s one of the rules of the Phoenix wow that’s actually really fascinating yeah yeah so um and when we do the picture we tell people you don’t have to be in it if you don’t want to but right you know it’s just again it’s trying to build a community and trying to get people engaged and uh you know I I think they’re they’re a lot of fun I you know I don’t know how you feel Jenny but I think coming back I think the majority of the people once I tell everyone get your ass Across the Threshold and let the magic happen after that right right so if you can get through the door then that that’s the hardest part right just get through the door you know um because once you’re there I think everybody realizes that um it’s all positive like I haven’t I haven’t seen anything where anyone’s had a meltdown or no you warned about that in your opening I’m like wait is somebody gonna what’s gonna happen here like I don’t know if these CrossFit people go nuts you know yeah yeah and you know they will

my experience has been it’s and it’s no different really than a typical CrossFit class where new people show up and they’re scared to death and they’re intimidated right and then they go wow I love this this is so great and I think the biggest reason they like it is because we’re not at this is not a knock against Planet Fitness but we’re not at a globo gym they call them with our earbuds and ignoring everyone doing our there’s all these people and you’re not interacting with anyone right we come in we’re all talking we put good music on we might stop and sing you know during the workout or whatever and it’s just really upbeat and it’s a community feel and it’s funny that you said that we just had that conversation before this that’s what I go to in the mornings and I’m like yeah I put my headphones on and I’m at my own and that’s my own like kind of time when I go to the gym and that idea of I guess building a community within so do you find that Community is also like supportive of your recovery is there a lot of crossover they support you in a different way like how does that Social Security support you the folks that I’ve interacted with and CrossFit in general aside from the Phoenix have been so amazing um 100 supportive you know um the biggest thing is most of them don’t even acknowledge it like they don’t come to you and oh my you’re in recovery wow you you know that’s like okay that’s great think about us all that much as much as we think they should yeah um and from for me though that’s that’s refreshing because I don’t want to be treated differently because of being in recovery you know it’s like we’re like a child you know um in the the thing that I really dislike is when people are like oh man I there might be drinking there are you are you okay with that I’m like it’s it’s the real world I’ve got to be okay with it you know I just it’s trust me it’s fine and yes you drink your beer or whatever you want to do that’s not your choice isn’t mine no I have to make that choice um so yeah so many people are just like hey I think that’s great and um you know people tell me I’m proud of you um it’s just like I say everything I’ve experienced in across the community is the opposite of what the external world thinks people are like those people are nuts that I can’t believe they do that they’re so intense they’re hooked on how they look and and it’s like now uh mainly it’s a bunch of people that love having a good time love supporting others and seeing others succeed uh and you know putting themselves through questionable amounts of pain from from you know working out but um yeah and within CrossFit they actually do like I’m gonna say like Regional and National like events and stuff yeah right so they build outside of just the individual gyms they’re really trying to build a community so it’s one of the few sports that you don’t have to make a level of endorsement beforehand to be able to go to the CrossFit games which is basically their Olympics right so for 20 bucks you can sign up for What’s called the CrossFit open and you do these tests and video it and submit it to CrossFit and if you’re good enough you make it to the next round and then if you’re good enough in that round you make it to the semis and then if you’re good enough in that you go to the CrossFit games you don’t have to make it to the big leagues like in baseball or football or something like that everyone has a chance one of the things you were just talking about there and it’s kind of interesting is I love the idea that you’ve had this ability to have maybe a an experience that doesn’t everybody doesn’t get where you get to be in a community of people doing a certain thing like CrossFit and then be in that same community of people doing that certain thing CrossFit people who are in recovery to be able to see like oh maybe there’s not any [ __ ] difference right like it’s pretty cool to have that that view of life because I feel like so often we do think in recovery that like we’re so different or we’re so flawed or so this or that and one of the interesting things like sometimes even I’ve thought that recovery people have a monopoly on having Community but like as I’ve met people CrossFit people Runners there are these really helpful loving like there’s not you don’t hear about many like elitists in these communities looking down on people it’s people cheering people oh and people who are at least in ultra running I don’t know about all running but you know there are these communities out there that people join that that feel as loving and accepting and and helpful and useful as ours and like yeah maybe that’s maybe it’s all useful you know maybe we’re all struggling with that thing and maybe we’re all finding these places to feel connected and and better about ourselves through that connection I would describe a lot of it as a meeting that’s not a meeting right right right right and at a meeting that doesn’t refine itself to people in recovery gotcha it’s just a different experience it’s the same goal right not stand sober building community and keeping yourself active and having positive interactions with people right the goal in crossfit’s not staying sober right but all of the elements of it and all the interactions are the same as the meeting all the things that work for Recovery it’s exactly the same also work for Life Improvement yeah that’s good that’s good to know I’m curious Mark are is your position and our all General position so people are they all volunteer spots yes okay yes I mean you can you can apply and work for the Phoenix but um you know I’m just a volunteer right yeah what would it look like to work for the Phoenix is that do you know much about that or I don’t know a whole lot but um you know they’re they’re just uh I think the biggest thing that they do is try to form relationships with with communities and and and Brands um you know to spread this thing and and um you know get money to support it and right um things like that so are there are there donations at the classes uh we tell people to donate online if they want okay you know or give back by volunteering I gotcha and you don’t have to get into specifics but this isn’t like your full-time gig like you have a CrossFit training or any of that you have a full-time job and a family and life outside of CrossFit this is something you do as a volunteer because you found it beneficial for you yeah yes yeah yeah I mean I work full time for WL Gore um you know I’ve been there 26 years and uh everything I do outside of that is just volunteer work this was and it’s because I guess passion or it is I mean like I said the the CrossFit Community has been so good to me um just again not only you know the challenge that’s offered there but the support at the same time and take the take the the the addiction piece out of it and say I’m a person that shows up there that has that doesn’t have a problem

it would be no different because it’s a community of people that want a positive outcome they want to be supportive of those that are around them and they want to encourage everyone to just try and get better right and I’ve experienced that no matter where I go in the CrossFit community our competitions that we go to we sign up you know we have local places host competitions and you go there and it’s not someone standing across from you sizing you up understanding what you can do or what you can’t do and saying I’m going to go out there and kick their ass it’s I’m gonna go out here and give my best and if I get done first and I know I’m beating my competition or if my competition gets done first and they know they’re beating me we literally turn around and clap and cheer for each other for our competitors you know that’s like the standard thing to do um and it’s just it’s refreshing you know and uh because I think it’s a community that understands I have to have myself together to perform right and that’s the same thing in recovery we have to have ourselves together to perform so it’s just it’s like I said they’re the the difference is there is none except for the addiction element that we bring in [Music]

thank you

and I imagine doing a lot of those competitions I mean I just think like you must build like some humility because you’re not going to win every time some like resilience to like keep pushing through stuff when it’s hard and then not give up and yeah you know that like said that positive self-talk like being okay with fallen short or failing being like hey that’s okay like I’m not a piece of crap and I don’t hate myself like all that stuff we do at least for me in my addiction was like low self-esteem low self-worth not wanting to try anything because I might fail like through exercise you know we’d build some muscles to counter some of that thinking yeah so you know I’ve been very competitive my entire life and uh I have also been fortunate enough to be very successful in a lot of things I’ve you know gone into um I was a very successful drag racer when I was younger I won a national championship um I’ve done really well at my in my career at my work and um just a multitude of other things right that I’ve I’ve been successful when I’ve when I’ve gotten involved and I was really good at getting drunk right like I was champion level yeah I excelled at that too right and uh

I came in to CrossFit and I’m like again ego right you’ve got to control ego it’s one of the biggest things um that I’ve learned is that ego is what makes you want to go do these things but it can also get in your way if you can’t control it and uh I remember showing up at CrossFit and the more and more I learned about it it’s like I want to be good but I’m gonna have to work really hard because if I want to go do a competition I don’t have to be strong I’ve got to be strong and fit I have to have an engine right I’ve got to be able to do a lot of work and get my heart rate up and keep it there and still work instead of standing around you know gasping for breath um so I’ve got to be in shape cardio you know strength the whole nine yards and it’s very humbling you know um hey that guy can walk on his hands I can’t even begin to do that you know there’s the things you start to say and then as you start to go after some of these different very different goals again it just contributes to your self-image and you fail over and over and over and over again but you do start to make you know small wins it’s just it’s really beneficial for for me you know for my mental health especially so with with the way I understood uh your opening story you you still you didn’t in the beginning really connect a whole lot with like a 12-step program or any particular type of program and it didn’t sound like necessarily that that ever really came to be a focus for you what would you say obviously being part of this is is part of your recovery but what kind of things go into your daily recovery so um I still keep the ball right I have it um won’t let go of it um I keep the community of folks that I’ve established I do go to meetings I just don’t do it all the time okay um I stay in the gym with my community um go to church go to therapy and just continue to put myself myself in environments where I feel support right therapy has probably been the biggest benefit beneficiary of recovery for me that’s that’s what’s brought me the most okay um that’s where I learned like I said for me my perspective is you can be sober but not necessarily in recovery right so learning to deal with the things why did you start drinking why did you keep drinking what was going on the drinking and all the things that went with it were the symptom they weren’t the problem you know um and The more I’ve dug into that the more I’ve become so aware of why I got where I was and how I’m never going to get back there hmm so it’s interesting and I don’t know this so I’ll ask you I would imagine my understanding of yoga in the sense of recovery and the therapy kind of lenses that like it really helps people get back in tune with breathing get back in touch with their body which is a huge part of like being in the moment and knowing what you want and intuitive living and all this great stuff but it feels like just at a base level looking at it and again I have never done CrossFit but it feels like CrossFit would sometimes clash with that almost just because of the way you’re kind of going into it I don’t know like tell me more about that like do you are you getting more in tune with your body through CrossFit I think I absolutely am okay yeah I feel like overall you are but I guess I don’t know I I and I guess it comes back to that line we talked about earlier so the thing that I’ve learned is when you do a workout so CrossFit the the like I said it’s very high intense most of the time um and you have to strategize every single workout you do you can’t it’s not one of these things where you can say I’m going to build a bigger chest and you can go into the gym and you say I’m going to do that by doing 10 sets of 10 for three weeks and then so many sets of eight for three for so many weeks and so many sets of five and I’m going to increase the weight and at the end I’m going to be stronger have a bigger chest right so on and so forth they’re so variable in the movements that you have no idea what the outcome is going to be um and I’ll give you an example we have we had like I said I mentioned the CrossFit open earlier it’s it’s the start of the season and they release the workouts on Thursday and you have until Tuesday to submit a score well excuse me Monday evening

they released one this past year that was called um you had to do two movements a burpee which is just going all the way down the floor touching your chest come back up but it was into a pull-up so you had to do it under a pull-up bar so you do a burpee come up jump up grab pull yourself up chin above you had to do so many of those and then just shuttle runs 25 feet down back down back reach down touch a line I did that workout four different times because I was unhappy with my score and I changed my strategy every single time and I got better and better and better and better and if I would have done it one more time I think I could have gotten it even you know even better result right because you don’t know you can’t always determine what’s going to impact you the most physically right or mentally so there are so many other workouts that we do like I said it’s so much variety you might go into it and think I’m going to nail this I know exactly how to do this and then you realize 30 seconds into it oh man I made a mistake and I started this way too fast and I’m dying already you know and it’s like I’ve got to make an adjustment quick or I’m not going to make it you know 10 or 12 or 15 minutes whatever the workout length is or through the number of reps so yes you learn a lot about your body and the other thing that you learn is a lot about your brain and I notice for me when I’m struggling in the gym I’m struggling in life and the more I can push myself in the gym and mentally tough it out the more I can push through in life how long have you been doing the coaching or the facilitating I guess one of the right terms so with the Phoenix just you know a little over a year but um I coached for about five at db4 Fitness oh okay okay and in CrossFit so you mentioned like the the Phoenix’s uh every other week so yeah once every two weeks I mean that doesn’t seem like enough to stay fit what is like a normal so like I try to go exercise every day in the gym do like standard weight training what’s like the normal regimen for CrossFit is it every day or every other day or you know we try to tell people if you can get there at least three days a week that’s great um I go five to six and take one full rest day but we have classes you know every day of the week different times you know morning midday evening so there’s plenty of options for for people to take regular classes you know so with the with the Phoenix it’s every other week just because of the limitation of the number of people in the area yeah yeah I mean what I’m trying to do is get it to to take off a little more get some more participation if we get more participation that means you know I have more people that are interested and I’ll look for more opportunities to have more classes right you know do you find that that’s a hindrance when you talk about building this community and maybe just in this area so to speak uh that with the every other week it’s harder or or maybe with you know you haven’t really had steady regulars come in and out or yeah it has been tough to get regulars okay um I think that you know a lot of folks are attending meetings in the evenings um try to do our best to not interfere with that so that we offer options um and then you know we were doing some Sundays but that’s like a big family day for people right you know that’s when they want to spend time with their families so when we move to Tuesday evening we were getting a lot more participation yeah what does it take to be able to step up and be a volunteer like I imagine for the CrossFit portion you would have to be knowledgeable in CrossFit but like you know with Caroline stepping up to do hiking do you just have to know a little about it you can just you can sign up online and they take you through an orientation process okay but that’s so that does that’s not going to like if you don’t know yoga you can’t go volunteer to write so right to to teach certain things to be an instructor of something that requires a methodology you have to be certified in some way right so um I have a CrossFit L2 um I need that to teach to teach CrossFit um or I would need a personal trainer certificate or you know something along that line or a yoga certification something like that depending on the discipline that you’re trying to teach I got you how how thorough is that orientation you go through is it just like a couple hour video or something their videos and you know if I recall I think you have to answer some questions or something like that but okay that’s pretty straightforward and there’s a I think there’s virtual classes too what don’t they have you just watch a yoga yeah yeah you can watch things online and do them um you know there’s plenty of options oh that’s cool okay I haven’t encourage anybody to just check out the app just explore the app and just find something it’s free too yeah can’t hurt yeah right any other questions oh I do so what’s the future of the Phoenix do you know do they have plans um there’s they’re just you know as far as I know just steadily trying to grow the community um try to find more locations nationwide and like I said internationally now um and just you know more and more activities to keep people active you know that’s what it’s all about is keeping people active and and giving them an option that’s pretty awesome so the Phoenix app is out there they also have the website the Phoenix you can search if you put in Phoenix recovery it came up near the top of the list for me it wasn’t hard to find um Mark is there anything specific like that you want to plug for yourself since you’re here I I just want to encourage folks to come out and participate in a class with us if they’re if they’re willing to um you know I know there is just from so much feedback I’ve gotten from folks not even in recovery there’s there’s a stigma around CrossFit or and we don’t technically do CrossFit all the time we just do Fitness right there’s a stigma about it being so hard and I can’t do this and it’s only for people that are really good athletes that’s that’s all because I chuckled when you said that about the CrossFit Games because I’ve seen those guys doing like those Burpee pull-ups and stuff and they do something like ridiculously yes 384. they are they’re extreme athletes they’re freaks of nature they really are right that’s not the normal person no no it’s not at all no I’ve seen all body types in our class yeah um it is for all body types people of all abilities um you know I just want to encourage folks to give it a try um exercise should be part of everyone’s daily routine it really should um and I’m not saying that because I do it right I’m saying it because your doctor would tell you the same thing that I’m saying right um and I think that it’s something that we’ve allowed in our society to become abnormal almost right it’s it’s not part of that many people’s daily routine um and you know just just come out and try it you know just just come give it a try uh if you have a limitation if you have something that you’re worried about tell me when you get there right I will do whatever I can to make you know um an option for you to do and and again it’s just about supporting one another getting ourselves moving getting a little sweat going um you know the the dopamine Rush that you get after working out is pretty darn good you know it really is I mean you feel great your body feels incredible so um it’s well worth it it’s it’s Agony sometimes when we’re doing the workout but you know the feelings afterwards and yeah you might be sore but come back you know and come back again and then you’ll stop being sore eventually and you’ll and I don’t know the mechanism but there’s something about doing like positive healthy things for yourself that just make you feel better like it really does they do I think I’m going to start a phoenix uh milkshake group for after right after Mark’s class I was like we’ll just go get milkshakes afterwards and I’m down yeah mark thank you so much for coming on and telling us about this I definitely want to raise awareness around this idea I do think movement is crucial to to a happy and content life on to a healthy body and and I was not aware of this until people started talking about it and it’s been in my area for a year so let’s get the word out let’s learn more about it let’s all get moving um and uh yeah take care of yourself we’ll see you next week thank you [Music] [Applause] [Music] did you like this episode share it with people you think might get something out of it check out the rest of our episodes at recoverysortup.com also while you’re there you can find ways to link up with us on Facebook Twitter Instagram Reddit YouTube anything we’re always looking for new ideas got an idea you want us to look into reach out to us [Music]

thank you