Positive Connections: Gym offers supportive space for those recovering from substance disorders

Positive Connections

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita gym is offering a safe, supportive space for those recovering from a substance disorder. The cost of membership is 48 hours of sobriety.

“It’s so much more than a free gym. We are an active community,” said Program Manager Amber Klaver at Wichita’s Phoenix.

The Phoenix is a national nonprofit that fuels resilience and harnesses the transformational power of connection to help people rise, recover and live.

With locations in 22 states, Wichita’s gym is one of dozens helping people rise above their addictions.

“We say there is a Phoenix experience. Once you feel it, it gets you hooked,” Klaver explained.

Klaver, who also works as a fitness instructor at the gym, poured herself into her own fitness journey when battling addiction.

“I struggled with an alcohol addiction for over a decade, and I knew it was a problem all along,” she said. “Phoenix wasn’t around in Wichita when I got sober, but I did do a lot of hot yoga, a lot of hot power yoga and just getting out of my head and into my body and then surrounding myself with positive people.”

Klaver now prides herself on sharing her story with others who walk through the Phoenix doors.

“We are mostly a peer-to-peer model which means the majority of staff members are people in recovery themselves, so that really helps members feel understood and not judged,” Klaver said.

Gym goer Keith Dockter found the Phoenix several years ago after relapsing.

“It’s the community of recovery, and it’s exercise, so the two things just kind of worked out really well for me,” said Dockter.

Dockter was in treatment for heroin, meth, alcohol and some other drugs. He has been clean since 2016.

“I got to a place where I was just sick of being tired and sick,” he said.

He said exercise and the people at the gym have helped him have a successful recovery.

“Community is so important so that’s why I love this place. It’s a community of my peers, it’s a community of they are trying to live that sober lifestyle,” Dockter said. “I promote this place so much because it has changed my life. This whole group of people that I have that support me here like I said they are my family.”

The Phoenix has open gym times each day. It also offers group fitness classes, including yoga, dance fitness, circuit, barre, and meditation. The gym also holds socials, so participants can get to know each other outside of the gym setting.

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