With every grunt and each bead of sweat, there’s a group of people in Albuquerque learning to pick themselves up. 

Johnny Armijo is one of those people, and while he works out his body, he’s also working out his demons. 

“I ended up getting a DWI and put into the recovery court program with Judge Benavidez… the best thing that’s ever happened to me,” said Johnny Armijo. 

For him, his workouts twice a week at Omni Strength are more than just time at the gym, they’re his way of fighting his addiction. 

The program is called Addict to Athlete. After the group of about 20 recovering addicts works out, they meet in a group session. 

“All the energy I put into my workout just channel it out into a positive way,” said one of the members. 

Armijo got involved with Addict to Athlete after being placed in Metro Court’s year-long Recovery Program.

“He started the program on his third DWI violation,” said Chief Judge Edward Benavidez about Johnny Armijo. 

Benavidez oversees the Recovery Program and calls Armijo a “shining star.”

“He’s been able to overcome his addiction by embracing the program and embracing society,” said the judge. 

Now, two years sober, Armijo is still in recovery, but he’s also helping others stay strong through their fight, because it’s the group that keeps him above his vices. 

“We’re all in the same boat, we’re all doing this together,” said Armijo. 

“It’s really neat to be a part of all these people’s lives and just watch them grow, while I watch myself grow… they’re my sobriety,” he said.

Armijo will graduate from the court’s Recovery Program next month, using the Addict to Athlete program as his required AA meeting.

Since Judge Benavidez took over the recovery program, he said out of 320 graduates, only 13 have re-offended.