My F3 Experience at Healing Transitions
F3 is a fitness group that meets at Healing Transitions every Friday. Many of the members of this group have volunteered their time and talents to Healing Transitions and we are so thankful for all that they do.
The day after I was released from the hospital because of seizures from alcohol withdrawal, I was invited to work out with a group of men on a sweltering 95 degree, North Carolina afternoon at Healing Transitions. Though I had always been an active person I barely made it through that first “Arena” workout out as alcoholism and the lifestyle that accompanied it had taken a drastic toll on my body. Circling up at the end of workout, that was filled with pain and self-doubt but also encouragement and enthusiasm, we formed the Circle of Trust (COT), which symbolized an endless brotherhood through fellowship. The men began calling off their worldly names followed by their F3 nom de guerre — I was knighted “Frydaddy” and told the only requirement for memberships was to believe in something larger than myself. F3 stands for Faith, Fellowship and Fitness: its mission is to plant, grow and serve small workout groups for the invigoration of male community leadership.
I was instantly drawn to the camaraderie, leadership, and confidence of the men who participated in the Arena. Surprisingly reconnecting with an old friend from college who was at the workout, I reluctantly explained my situation and though I felt downtrodden about my current circumstances I sensed no judgement from him or anyone that day. The men treated me with the utmost respect and offered nothing but encouragement and the understanding that we all battle with our own personal demons. This normalcy of workouts followed me throughout my time at Healing Transitions and served as a positive connection to the outside world while I lived in an institution.
As I progressed through the HT program I slowly began to see a complete change in my outlook upon life. Through investing in Healing Transitions I became a brand new person; a person I liked to see in the mirror.
Over the next few months, I became much more involved with F3 going to workouts every Friday afternoon and Saturday morning; I even starting to lead, ”Q”, workouts at the HT and another local F3 workout, the Ambassador. This newfound investment allowed me to confidently encourage other Healing Transitions participants to get involved with the fellowship. The physically demanding F3 workouts helped my anxiety, blood pressure, and restlessness leaving me clear-minded and feeling better after each one. For years, I had just existed, facing life with an “I don’t care” attitude but F3 and the program at Healing Transitions changed that — these programs gave me purpose. I participated in the 9/11 Stair Climb at Carter Finley stadium and a GoRuck leadership experience with a group of F3 men: these interactions afforded me the opportunity to bond with my new brotherhood.
I learned values from F3 COT’s like believing in something bigger than myself, contributing to the group, helping and welcoming newcomers, showing up and keeping commitments, positive communication, and racial inclusion: all these principles coincided with those I learned in recovery. Sharing in the Circle of Trust and the accountability of regularly being present while showing interests in the lives of others aligned perfectly with the spiritual principles that the program had instilled in me.
As I progressed through the program, I began biking to workouts during the weekdays of my three month Planning Room commitment. What had started as a workout, had blossomed into a bond with like-minded men that became the best part of my day. Today I start most days with an F3 workout, “post”, around Raleigh which grants me friendships with countless great men within my community. I now have the privilege of returning to the workouts where I started and encourage men in the same situation I was in that there is hope, showing them the same respect and encouragement I was offered.
I speak openly about my former difficulties in hopes that someone else can relate and find a similar path to the freedom I have found. I ask for help from my F3 brothers regularly and offer help to help others. Self -Reliance is my most prevalent character defect but I now have a fellowship of men to help me through difficult times. Today, I do whatever F3 asks of me and contribute where I can. I cannot imagine my experience at Healing Transitions without F3 and all they have, and still do for me, on a daily basis — the guidance of F3 and the program have taken me from a fearful, lost, child to a man that embraces life’s challenges and uses past experiences help others.
Here is The Arena’s Founding Quote:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”