Dec 18, 2018 | By: Anthony Scott

Northwoods Adventure: Weightlifting Contest Helps Addicts On The Road To Recovery

Weights were stacked…and lifted…as people competed at the saved by strength event to support Minnesota’s Adult & Teen Challenge.

“This is one of the events that our guys really look forward to coming to,” David Wrenn, Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge’s Program Manager at the Brainerd campus, said. “They train for it with Jan every day, and it really builds their confidence.”

Competitors of all ages competed in a farmer’s carry, deadlift, overhead press, and a tire-flipping relay.

Weights weren’t the only thing competitors were raising at the Saved by Strength event – they were also raising money for a great cause. Donations were collected to help support Minnesota’s Adult & Teen Challenge, a Christian-based drug & alcohol rehabilitation center, which has helped over 1,000 people overcome addiction in the Brainerd area.

“Teen Challenge is my fourth treatment and they have the Jesus factor,” Robert Huffman, a Saved by Strength competitor, said. “Jesus changes everything.”

Some competitors in the Saved by Strength event just wanted to test their strength, and others were either graduates or current members of the Adult & Teen Challenge.

“I just got out of jail, and I’m doing yoga and just trying to stay on the right path,” Nathan Kist, a Saved by Strength competitor, said. “This is what it’s all about.”

Fitness is also an important part of the recovery process for people going through the Adult & Teen Challenge.

“I don’t know if anybody realizes how important fitness is to a recovery,” Wrenn said. “It builds their mind as well as their body, and it’s just a great outlet for the guys also, so when they do get out of the program they have this to fall back on if there’s any stressful days.”

“I used drugs and alcohol for my emotional instability, and now I can use weightlifting to build myself up,” Huffman said.

The donations from the event go a long way in keeping the doors open for those seeking recovery.

“The 13-month program costs a lot of money to help these guys,” Jan Burley, St. Francis Health & Wellness Center Manager, said. “So, if we want addicts in our neighborhoods, then let’s do nothing. If we want to help clean up our neighborhoods and create better parents, better fathers, better spouses, sons, and uncles, we need to keep helping out.”

This was the third Saved by Strength event, and another is planned to take place in June.

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