By Victoria Gaither
CrossFit RisingStar owner Robert DiTursi is on track to start his Sober Fitness Program in April in Rutland. The program is in conjunction with The Phoenix, a national program that uses fitness and wellness to help people through recovery. As part of The Phoenix, DiTursi raised $11,000 to pay for it.
The program has been a long time in the making.
“I’ve always wanted to do a sober fitness and recovery program, and I’m working with Micah Christian, one of our members, who came to me when he started his recovery path,” he said. “Christian will soon lead the program.”
He also reached out to his regional CrossFit representative to see how CrossFit corporate could help. “Our rep got CrossFit headquarters to pay for him to get his education certification for level one CrossFit trainer,” DiTursi said.
His team is hoping to help patients at the West Ridge Center, an addiction treatment facility in the Howe Center, and others in Rutland seeking help to change their lives. The CrossFit RisingStar building shares a parking lot with the addiction treatment facility.
After seeing recovery patients for five years leave out the side door and stare at a blank wall; he wanted to do something to inspire hope. He met local artist Lopi LaRoe and asked what he could do, and it was then the two came up with “Rise Up,” a mural that depicts a young girl with a newsboy cap in blue and gray with geometric shapes.
“People shed tears, cried, and watched me paint this,” LaRoe said.
A client exiting the door at the center stopped to look at “Rise Up,” and said, “It’s beautiful. I love it. It makes a difference.”
Such connection and hope push DiTursi and all involved in making a difference to help get people back on track.
“I just wanted to do something instead of talking,” he explained.
DiTursi himself stopped drinking 10 years ago. He has a deep understanding of addiction on a personal level.
Besides outdoor activities, physical fitness, educational classes, participants can expect fun things like Sober, Sip, and Dip. “Instead of drinking wine while painting,” he said, “we can paint, enjoy each other’s company and have a great time.”
The opening celebrations will be small because of Covid-19. “Maybe that’s good,” DiTursi said, “to start with a small group of people and build from there.”
For those interested in helping, it’s still not too late to donate. For more information, vitis gofundme.com/f/addicted-to-life-not-drugs-help-recovery-begin. CrossFit RisingStar is located at 1 Scale Ave. Building 11A in Rutland.