I’ve been a mixed martial arts fan since the 90s, back when the only way for me to watch UFC fights was on VHS tapes and they only place we knew to buy them were at the once a month swap-meet a couple towns over. Now that MMA is mainstream and YouTube exists, it would be hard to keep up with all the MMA content available.

However, the Utah State Prison does not have internet or even cable TV available to prisoners, so over-the-air channels are it. To get my fix, I made sure to catch Steel Fist replays on KJZZ TV every Sunday night until they took it off the air.

On that broadcast, the same two commercials played in the middle of the half hour broadcast. One of those commercials had a guy covered in tattoos named Rob Eastman with a message of hope for those addicted to drugs. I remember thinking Rob painted a great picture as to why it’s called recovery.

Rob is the Eastman in Eastman fitness and wellness, which provides coaching in fitness, recovery, and life in general. I met Rob at KOA Kingdom in Layton as he was showing support for another effort in the recovery community by showing up to participate in our weekly Recovery Strong workout. I use the word “our” because I’m a mainstay at that particular affair and because I am member of this very important community of people supporting each other.

Ian Acker, the founder of Fit2Recover has also dropped in a couple times to show his support. I know that meant a lot to Jared Shaw, the creator of Recovery Strong, as Fit2Recover was kind of the inspiration for Recovery Strong. There are all sorts of great people like these men who are doing what they can to make a difference.

I recently wrote about not being able to help someone that doesn’t want help, but for the addict who does want help, there are so many options. Workout groups are just the tip of the iceberg. There are intensive in-patient programs, out-patient programs, work programs, recovery meetings, and other groups. There is something for everyone. There’s no one size fits all answer and there are so many opinions on the right way to approach recovery.

People are constantly debating whether or not addiction is a disease or if it’s just a matter of will power or when the choice to do drugs turns into an addiction or whatever. There’s not a scientifically agreed upon definition for addiction, let alone just a universally accepted one. Really though, none of that matters; families are being destroyed, people are dying. Even with that in mind, not everyone agrees that we should even try to help addicts or people who choose to use drugs.

Each and every one of us are entitled to our own opinion. I definitely have mine about people who aren’t for helping those in need. We’re all shaped by our experiences. Previously, in prison and drug court, I had seen so much failure in the recovery world, so it’s been quite an experience to witness all the positivity and success people are finding in recovery. It’s also an inspiration to see so many people “giving back,” people who have been there and can see the struggling addict as a real person, a person with the potential to really recover.

Brian Wood, of Layton, pleaded guilty to nine felony charges for offenses from 2011 to 2014, including counts of burglary, drug possession and prescription fraud. He served four years in the Utah State prison system before being released on parole on Jan. 2, 2018.

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