By Richard Adkins, WRAL Photojournalist
Raleigh, N.C. — The new year is approaching, a time when many people resolve to get in shape, to better connect with friends, or just vow to be a better person. There is a group in Raleigh who can help with all that. It’s a free program they call F3. The three Fs, group member Scott Mauzy explains, “Stands for fitness, fellowship and faith.”
Fitness is the reason most people initially come to the workout.
Mauzy says, “I believe that if you are physically fit and have an emphasis on physical exercise, it’s going to help you mentally as well.”
Fellow member Josh Chenery believes there is a need to get people active.
“Our culture is so sedentary. It’s such the easy life these days. You need to do something to exercise these bodies we’ve been given,” he says.
F3 members take turns leading the exercise sessions. They use nicknames to help level the playing field.
“There’s no doctor so-and-so, there’s no lawyer so-and so, there’s no ditch digger so-and-so,” Chenery explains.
During warm-ups before the workout, the men laugh, fist bump and occasionally one-arm man hug.
“Fellowship is kinda the glue that keeps you coming back to F3.” Mauzy said.
It’s that fellowship that pushes the faith. The group doesn’t adhere to just one religion or belief.
“Faith is more than self,” Chenery says. “Faith that there is somebody out there gives you something to strive for. It gives you something to work for.”
Each Friday afternoon, the group takes their fitness, fellowship and faith to Healing Transitions, a program where people can find a way to break their addictions and learn to lead a better life.
“I’m not without my faults, not without my vices, and these guys are no different than me,” Chenery believes. “I can’t look at them like somebody different than me. They’re just people in a different position than me.”
F3 aims to give people in the Healing Transitions program connect to the world outside of addiction recovery and make friendships that can travel with them when they leave the program.
“I was introduced to F3 when I was in the program down here,” says Jon Frey.
He now lives a sober life.
“I had a long struggle with alcoholism,” he said.
He returns to Healing Transitions on Fridays to repay what the group gave him.
“I kinda owe every thing I have going for me right now to F3,” Frey says.
Addiction recovery is hard.
The workout helped Frey build strength.
“It was something for me to look forward to every week, to come out here and exercise, sweat a little bit and get rid of some of that extra anxiety.”
It’s a workout with success not measured in body mass. The scale used by F3 has no numbers.
“Just to get a little bit better each day is really the goal,” Chenery says, “become a better person at work, a better person at home, with your family, kinda in all aspects of your life.”
Jans Tecum is a 32-year-old current participant at Healing Transitions. He says F3’s visits to the program, “make me feel better.” The workout, Tecum believes, is more the mind than the muscle.
“I drank before, I used drugs. I stopped doing that when I came here. And F3 makes me comfortable. When I work out my mind is clear,” he said.
Just before the Friday workout begins, Josh Chenery sums up what the F3 work out is all about. “We just want to help our bothers,” he said.