FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- On Monday nights in Clovis, you'll find a pair of addiction recovery groups playing soccer.
"This is a great way to get back into the things that we used to do that were fun prior to drugs and alcohol taking that away from us," says Kenneth Ellebracht.
In 2019, Ellebracht found himself with "My Time Recovery," a drug and alcohol treatment center in northwest Fresno with an innovative program.
Two years later, Ellebracht would relapse, checking into Fresno's "Touchstone Recovery."
With his past experience, Ellebracht saw an opportunity to bring the two together, making the journey a little easier.
"A lot of people have a misconception that once you stop using or drinking, that you don't have fun anymore," he said.
But with friendly competition on the line, many find themselves enjoying the sports they grew up playing.
"That's what probably kept me out of trouble a lot," says Juan Carlos. "Keep yourself busy before you're out doing things you shouldn't be doing."
"I mean, I just had enough of living the way I was living," says Jonathan George. "I knew it was time for a change. If all it was just sitting around, going to groups and staying sober, I don't think a lot of people would stay sober. I think this stuff really brings people together and defines what recovery is all about."
"Knowing you can have fun without having a drink, do stuff like this, stuff we've done since we were kids, is an awesome opportunity," says Frankie Martinez.
The two sides try not to focus on the score, but the intensity is still alive and well.
"It's rougher, we get kind of crazy out here," George said.
"We're out here to have fun and with it being indoor soccer, it's a smaller field, so it's faster-paced," Martinez said.
Not everyone has to play -- some like Fresno native and Army veteran Timothy Holland have the title of spectator.
"I've been fighting my own problems for a long time," he said. "It's a great thing, just coming out and doing something positive."
As the groups continue on the road to recovery, they hope to team up with other treatment centers around the Central Valley with a common goal in mind.
"It's an outreach and we call it being of service," Ellebrach said. "Any time we're being of service and helping someone else, we're not being selfish and helping ourselves."
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