Bringing Out the Best in Others

Addiction Recovery Care CrossFit Team Competes in Columbus


Adam Bowen

For The Ashland Beacon


   You don’t have to speak to many people in Ashland, Kentucky, before you find someone whose family or friends have been touched by opioid addiction. For some in our community, the struggle of addiction is a personal battle; a battle which, tragically, does not always result in a happy ending.

   But, in the midst of the battle, there is a rise in victorious voices of people who have not only overcome addiction but are leading the charge in fighting back. Jason Emerson, Justin Hall, and Matt White are three of those voices.

   Emerson was a slave to addiction for 20 years but broke free of those chains four years ago. Hall credits his faith in God and the Addiction Recovery Care (ARC) program for turning his story from a tale of disaster into a testimony of encouragement and hope.

   “ARC is a program that we have been through and are still a part of today. ARC believes in taking a person that’s in crisis and taking them from that crisis into a career,” Emerson said.

   Emerson explained that ARC currently has around 500 employees, and half of those employees are in recovery; and of those 250, 33 percent are graduates of the ARC program.

   “At ARC, we teach many different things because we understand that there is no one way to recovery and it’s going to take more than one thing for us to stay sober, live happily, be successful and live a meaningful life,” Emerson said. “So, in our program, we focus on the clinical and medical side of addiction while teaching recovery skills, life skills and job skills. We were given many different tools to help us find and walk out our God-given destiny as we follow the path of recovery.”

   Emerson also gives massive credit to his current success to another program in Ashland. “When I first meet Gerald (Ger) Sasser, I knew absolutely nothing about CrossFit, but in front of me stood a man that wanted to help people that were suffering from addiction and wanted to be a part of the solution. So, I started looking into CrossFit, what it was about, and I went and gave it a try,” Emerson said.

   “At CrossFit Countdown, I found a community of people working together and encouraging one another to reach their goals. I found that each person had their own personal goals that were supported by the CrossFit community. However, the ultimate goal was for people to live a happier, healthier, more productive life. After just one day being at the box, I was able to relate CrossFit with recovery.”

   Since then, Emerson has also recruited his friends, and fellow ARC program participants, to join him at CrossFit Countdown. Emerson said that what he, Hall, and White have realized is that CrossFit is another tool they can utilize to help them stay sober.

   “Crossfit has helped me set and accomplish goals, which helped raise my confidence. CrossFit has given me the courage to set and accomplish goals in my personal life. CrossFit and its community have not only helped me in my recovery but has helped Justin Hall, Matthew White and countless others become better, healthier, productive members of society,” Emerson said.

   And now that journey has taken Emerson, Hall, and White to the competition floor. The trio entered into the Validus Events CrossFit Competition where they will compete in 11 events throughout two days. Of the three, none had ever entered a physical fitness competition, and the most CrossFit experience any of them have belongs to Emerson at six months. In taking it all in over lunch after the first day’s events, Emerson and White remarked that while they were nervous, the support and love of their friends at CrossFit Countdown gave them all the encouragement they needed to do it.

   “If it weren’t for Ger showing up at my office when he felt lead to this would not be possible,” Emerson said.

   At the end of the first day of events, team Addiction Recovery Care was holding a firm second place in the Men’s Team of Three Scaled division at the Validus Event Series at Endeavor CrossFit in Columbus, Ohio.