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Ex-convict creates group to help others avoid addiction through exercise

Posted at 8:22 AM, Jun 30, 2023

OGDEN, Utah — As Mike Maltby looks out at the mountains that surround him, he remarks, “As soon as you see how beautiful it is, you’re thinking, ‘Would I rather see this? Or would I rather see the cement walls?’”

The 47-year-old has seen his fair share of cement walls after spending about 22 years of his life in the prison system. He says a methamphetamine addiction got him there in the first place.

“You’re doing all kinds of crazy things to keep going,” Maltby said.

While he was in and out of prison, Maltby went through parole board-mandated therapy for substance abuse, but the way it was run wasn’t comfortable between the classroom setting and constant officer supervision.

“You can't be open and free with an officer or an AP&P agent,” Maltby explained.

That reason drove Maltby to create the free group, called Actively Sober, which connects people who’ve faced similar challenges with addiction and teaches them how to use exercise as a coping mechanism. Maltby has support from his family, too, as he works to spread the word about Actively Sober.

"I'm just happy to support. Mainly, because I believe in him, but I also love the community aspect that we can do something that can really help people in our community,” explained Sue Maltby, Mike’s sister-in-law, who is a certified personal trainer. Sue helps lead the group’s fitness component.

Already, the group is showing signs of helping others like Veronica Hernandez who has been drug-free for three years. Hernandez said Actively Sober gives her a healthy and social activity that works with her new lifestyle.

“Being out in nature and being outdoors, that helps me a lot with keeping myself sober and staying clean,” Hernandez remarked. “It’s just amazing.”

Maltby's goal is to grow the group to the point where they have their own building with fitness equipment and exercise classes to attend.

Currently, the group meets Wednesdays at 6 p.m. and noon on Saturdays at Mt. Ogden Park. For more information, call: 385-414-0293.