How a free gym for those facing addiction is changing lives

·1 min read

The Phoenix is unlike any other gym you’ve been to before.

It’s a place you can go if you are struggling with addiction. The only cost of membership is 48 hours of sobriety.

See how The Phoenix is transforming lives in the player above.

Scott Strode founded The Phoenix in 2006 in Boston after struggling with a substance use disorder. He found that boxing and exercise was the catalyst in his own recovery.

“I was trying to figure out how to change my life,” says Strode. “I didn’t even know I was going to be in recovery at that point. I just didn’t want to have the sort of shame and drama and pain of what was happening in my addiction story.”

Strode was introduced to a boxing gym through a friend. He says it gave him a renewed sense of pride.

From there, he was introduced to rock climbing. The first time he got to the top of a climb changed everything.

Scott Strode, the founder of The Phoenix
Scott Strode, the founder of The Phoenix

“It started to sort of melt away the shame and this sort of negative self image that I carried,” says Strode. “I started to reinforce it with this belief in myself. And so it's something that carries forward as a thread in The Phoenix today. That we believe in you, even if you don't yet believe in yourself.”

The Phoenix has now expanded to 53 cities across the country and boasts 58,000 members.

They rely solely on grants and donations to keep their membership free and their facilities running.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Free gym for people facing addiction is changing lives