ST. GEORGE — As they ran by the signs protesting the alcohol and drug treatment facility, the group acted unaffected. They didn’t tear them out or stomp on the yards that contained them. They ran right by them. The runners’ lives had all been touched by addiction in some way – either themselves or a loved one; and through treatment and support, they have gone from addict to athlete, which is what Blu Robinson decided to call his organization: Addict II Athlete.
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Videocast by Amber Green, St. George News
In January, some Bloomington residents protested the opening of the residential drug and alcohol treatment home in their neighborhood. Some residents were concerned regarding the character of the people enrolled in the facility, impact the facility would have on property values and overall effects a commercial business would have on a primarily residential zone.
Before their run through Bloomington, Robinson prepped his runners by telling them about the signs they would see and why they chose this neighborhood. One runner in the group said that she went to a Steps Rehabilitation center, the same organization that has come to Bloomington, but at a different location in northern Utah.
“We are not here on behalf of Steps, but we are here because we have that in common,” Robinson said. “I noticed there are a lot of people out here that have protest signs out and I still think that people just don’t know who we are.
“Really we are just here to make our presence known. We’re not here to do anything illegal. We’re not going to kick down signs or pull them out …. We are running to erase the public perception on who we are and replace it with the visual of what people can do in their lives to change.”
The group jogged about 2 miles, in preparation for their race on Saturday, Lake to Lake Relay in the St. George area, where each team will run 50 miles as a relay from Gunlock Reservoir to Sand Hollow Reservoir.
Addict II Athlete put together over six teams for the race, one of which is comprised of children 12 years and under, whose parents had suffered with addiction.
“Great cause, great group,” said Aaron Metler, coordinator for Lake to Lake relay. “It’s an incredible organization and gets them really hooked on fitness. The support from them for our races is amazing. We try to give them a special award at our banquet.”
Since its conception in 2011, Addict II Athlete has grown to over 400 athletes participating in healthy recreation all over Utah. Robinson is a therapist working for Utah County Division of Substance Abuse who overcame his own addiction by replacing it with things of greater value.
The goal of the group is to establish and maintain sobriety in the community by promoting lifestyle changes to erasing addiction and replacing it with something of greater value.
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