How this recovering addict helps others stay sober with free gym memberships

GoFundMe / YouTube

Warning: The Instagram posts featured in this story contain language some may find offensive.

At age 24, Krissy Cagney had a wake-up call. Lying in a hospital bed in Southern California after a six-day bender, she couldn’t remember anything from the previous few days. Her doctor told her she was unlikely to live much longer if she continued her destructive use of alcohol and cocaine.

Hearing that harsh reality in 2013 helped Cagney get on the right track. However, the beginning of her sobriety was lonely. She’d worked as a personal trainer since her teens and found comfort at her gym. “It’s the only thing that had power over the substance abuse,” she recently told Nevada’s KTVN-TV.

As a result, fitness has played an integral role in her recovery.

Along the way, Cagney realized something many recovering addicts have discovered: it’s tough to do it alone.

In 2015, Cagney opened Black Iron Gym, a 6,000-square foot facility with group fitness classes, counseling and more, located in Sparks, Nevada. The gym welcomes anyone who is serious about pursuing their goals, not just in CrossFit or powerlifting, but also in making significant life changes.

Today, Cagney helps other recovering addicts through her business. “I changed and became someone new,” she shared in an Instagram post last year. “Someone with compassion, ambition, and self love. If I can do it, so can you.”

Giving Hope

Her latest goal with Black Iron Gym is to go beyond physical fitness and provide a safe, supportive environment for people just like her. In fact, she offers free memberships to recovering addicts with her Reps 4 Recovery program. They can come for a workout or just talk in a safe space.

Cagney also provides donated athletic attire to those who can’t afford their own.

Getting Help

Since announcing her Reps 4 Recovery program, Cagney and Black Iron Gym have been overwhelmed with interest. In March 2017, she created a GoFundMe page to make up for the lack of membership fees. Since then, the fundraiser has collected more than $87,000 in donations, with a stated goal of $120,000.

You can learn more about the program in the video below.

Potentially losing money on her business in pursuit of helping addicts is something Cagney seems fine with.

“I refuse to turn people away and in order to expand the program, hire help and bring in more recovery warriors, I need you to help me (and my amazing staff who makes this all possible) offset the cost of providing free training, equipment, coaching, group talk, programming, software and clothing,” she shared on her GoFundMe page.

In a recent Instagram post, she actually admitted Black Iron Gym is “not profitable” and that her mind for charitable giving makes her “bad at” running the business. But there are likely plenty of recovering addicts who’d disagree.

So far, she has helped more than 100 people in their recovery journeys and hopes to continue helping many more. In as little as six months, Cagney says most members have made significant progress and are able to begin paying regular monthly dues.

What do you think of Cagney’s idea? Would you support it?

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About the Author
Jennifer Nied
Jennifer Nied is a freelance writer and editor based in New York City. She focuses on beauty, wellness, and travel stories with a background covering the spa industry.

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