Sitting on a folding chair in a freshly painted room, Coach Blu holds a card in his hand. He looks around the room and calls out the name of an athlete from those gathered around him, holding his card up so he can read it.
“Tell me your favorite part about school.”
The athlete who was asked the question looks around at all of the friendly faces and tries to think of an answer. Finally, the athlete provides a one-word answer but is prodded by the coach to add more.
The Addict to Athlete (AIIA) meeting this particular Tuesday evening involves Ungame, a game meant to spark conversation and communication.
This is a typical AIIA meeting. Instead of being an anonymous group, AIIA is a group where past problems and addictions are shared openly so others can learn. “Turn your mess into a message” is a quote heard often when around the team.
AIIA was started in 2011 by Blu Robinson, a man who struggled with his own addictions. Sober since 1996, he has spent his life counseling others and building AIIA from the ground up – literally turning his mess into a message.
There are no fees, no commitments, and nothing required other than a desire to improve your life. “Erase and replace” is another quote often heard around the AIIA athletes.
The team does not care what addictions you may have struggled with, or if you even do.” Muggles” (those who do not suffer from addiction) are commonplace at the meetings and events. Almost everyone knows someone who has struggled, continues to struggle or has lost their struggle with addiction. The lessons and discussions are useful for everyone.
Not only does the team hold weekly meetings, but there are monthly races that Addict to Athlete tries to support around the communities. Service projects, such as Project Elf, provide Christmas for families in need. AIIA even has its own 5K and team half marathon race that both begin at the Sports Complex in Spanish Fork.
There are podcasts, One-on-one with Coach Blu on Facebook on Wednesdays, and open gym nights where the team exercises together.
Many athletes will even enter local races and challenges. In fact, in October, AIIA proudly sported neon pink shirts during a 24 hour trail challenge.
As an athlete and recovery coach myself, I can truly say that this team has saved my life. While I may not look like an athlete, I have completed a trail ultra marathon, multiple 5K races, and have learned how to take care of and love myself. These are things that I struggled with for a long time while I was deep in my addictions.
Please join us every Tuesday evening at 7:00 p.m. at 1875 S. State St. in Orem or any of the other 12 chapters across Utah, Colorado and Nevada to immediately become an athlete, a member of our team and start changing your life for the better.
Athletes, who am I?
I’m a champion!
Submitted by Earl Dyer