By Kathleen Toner, CNN
updated 4:52 PM EST, Thu February 9, 2012
Denver (CNN) -- When Nick Nisbet says he once hit rock bottom, he means it.
"I had a heroin overdose. I stopped breathing for too long, and I died. My heartbeat stopped and brain waves stopped," he said. "They had to jump-start me with the paddles."
The 2006 episode finally persuaded Nisbet to kick his deadly drug habit. But getting clean -- and staying clean -- was a daunting proposition.
"I'd tried to get sober many times," the 34-year-old said. "I tried the methadone clinic, I tried just cold turkey. But ... you need to fill the void with something."
He tried 12-step meetings, but they depressed him. So when his girlfriend told him about Phoenix Multisport, a sober support community that offers free athletic activities, he agreed to check it out.
"I reluctantly went, thinking it was just going to be a big waste of time," he said. "Turns out it was the best move I ever made in my life."
Phoenix, named after the mythical bird that rises from its ashes, helped Nisbet rediscover his love of biking. It also connected him with other recovering addicts who wanted to be active.
"They just make sure that you're staying sober and having fun doing it," he said. "It's the best support crew I could imagine having."
More than 4,700 people have participated in Phoenix, which Scott Strode started in 2007. Most join the group because they've struggled with drug or alcohol addiction.
"Life should be better once you get sober," said Strode, 38. "(We want to) help people build a new life, a new self-image and have fun without getting high."