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WTKR News 3

From behind bars to lifting bars: NN man shares substance abuse, recovery story

By Erika Craven,


Many in Hampton Roads struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol. And for some, like one man in Newport News, there's light on the other side.

The walk Kevin Clark takes to the gym each day has become his ritual of self-care.

"This is my new addiction," said Kevin Clark, trainer at OneLife Fitness in Newport News, owner of iNCLYNE wear. WTKR staff
Kevin Clark

Each day he works out and trains others.

The weights he lifts now are light in comparison to the weight he lifted to get to this point in life.

"The first time in my memory I actually had a drink, I remember being in 8 th grade," said Clark. "Weed and alcohol definitely started it, but other drugs came into effect quickly after that."

"Where did this path lead you?" News 3 reporter Erika Craven asked.

"Prison, jail, the streets," answered Clark.

In prison Clark decided he wanted more from life.

"My turning point, I broke my arm. I was abusing my painkillers. Drinking homemade jailhouse wine, liquor in there," said Clark. "I just couldn't take it any more."

He said maybe God heard him.

"I decided right there that I didn't want anything to do with that life anymore," said Clark. "I was called down to the doctor's office to refill my pain prescription and I told him to keep it. I'll stick with ibuprofen. That was in November 2017, and I have been sober ever since."

He began replacing his bad habits with healthier ones.

"It started in prison, and it was something to do to pass time, but it was also, 'oh I'll get out with a good body,'" said Clark. "But it turned into much more than that. It turned into actually feeling accomplished afterwards that you just did something good for yourself."

In the end, he found a new passion that he shares with others as a trainer. WTKR staff
Kevin Clark

"Being part of someone else's journey is an unreal feeling that I never imagined I would feel," added Clark.

There might be something to why the gym worked for Kevin.

Earlier this year Public Library of Science researchers found that including exercise in treatment can improve the likelihood of recovery from a variety of substance-use disorders. Some of the benefits of exercise, the researchers found, were a bump in mood and reduction of anxiety.

Clark said exercise isn't the only way to find recovery, but reminds others that recovery is possible.

"I think structure and finding passion in something is what breaks people out of that cycle. It's not always going to be easy, but it's going to be worth it in the end," said Clark.

He strives to be better each day. He's a certified trainer, the Fit360 site director at OneLife Fitness in Newport News, and he's even started an active wear business called iNCLYNE wear.

September is National Recovery Month. For more information and resources on substance abuse visit here .

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