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Man Overcomes Addiction By Biking

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File photo of cyclists. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

File photo of cyclists. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

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MADISONVILLE, Ky. (AP) — It was a little after midnight when Chad Davis went to hop in the shower.

Swirling gray clouds floated to the ceiling of his living room as he and his wife inhaled the remnants of burning marijuana. Their mutual friend had just left the smoking session and jumped on his bike before they heard a knock on the door.

Despite the fact that it was Friday the 13th, the pair wasn’t expecting unwanted visitors.

With the blunt still in hand, Davis said his now ex-wife opened the door thinking their friend had returned. To her surprise, two officers stood in the threshold greeted by the stench of marijuana.

“The officers that arrested me were nice enough to let me finish my shower,” he said. “I think they were truly a blessing in disguise.”

Without confrontation, Davis confessed ownership of the illegal drug and was taken to the Hopkins County Jail, he said.

It’s been three years since he was charged with the possession of marijuana, but it was a night that changed his life.

Growing up in a Christian, single-parent household, Davis was determined to live life on his own terms.

“I had a lot of bitterness as a child and I was rebellious,” he said. “I tried to subside my desire for a God-like life.”

In an attempt to be independent, Davis found his nemesis: drugs. He started smoking pot at 16, but later developed an addiction to pharmaceutical drugs such as Xanax, Soma, and Neurontin.

“I’ve never had anything consume me like Xanax,” he said. “I still get goosebumps just talking about it.”

Davis rode his bike to get drugs because he was less likely to get stopped by police, he said. Now, he bikes for a more rewarding cause.

Last month, Davis, 34, launched the Ride It Out program for recovering addicts or anyone dealing with stress, anxiety or depression. He realized that biking replaced his desire for drugs, which led him to a healthier lifestyle.

“It’s not necessarily about riding,” he said. “It’s about embracing the power of habit. Changing those habits can change you.”

The idea came to him last year during service at the First Church of God on South Kentucky Avenue, where he grew closer to his faith.

He told his pastor along with his best friend’s wife, Audrey Burns. Burns said drugs had come between their friendship.

“He was in a constant state of black out,” she said. “We honestly didn’t know if he was going to make it at all.”

Once he got sober, Burns said she could tell he was a new person.

“I’ve never seen a person so completely transformed,” she said.

Burns serves as the social media advocate for the program and started a Facebook page called Ride It Out — Chad Davis.

They plan to post riding times and locations for the group to meet. He also wants to team up with the Salvation Army and the Hopkins County Drug Court, which he attended during recovery.

“Whether it’s recovery or just getting rid of stress, emotional well-being and physical activity go hand in hand,” Davis said.

He enjoys biking in town on Country Club Lane or at Grapevine Park around the lake. He also takes long distance trips to Central City and Dawson Springs.

Davis said he’s more at peace riding his Trek mountain bike than driving a car, so earlier this year he sold one of his cars and gave the other to his ex-wife.

Sporting his red and white campaign tee, Davis geared up for a ride with his Nike backpack, water and sunglasses in tow.

“It’s crazy how I feel when I’m riding,” he said. “I truly want to share that with other people.”

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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