An Ohio man recovering from addiction said he had a difficult journey to get to where he is now, a heavyweight toughman champion.

Basil Acuri first competed in the event back in 2009 but did not place that year.

"I was drinking, using, still in my addiction," Acuri. "I was smoking cigarettes, overweight, out of shape."

Acuri said a near-experience last year is what turned things around. Acuri was revived by paramedics and a dose of Narcan and decided he was going to kick his addiction. After three weeks of detox, Acuri said he was clean.

"It feels great to persevere and to come out on top when you were at your lowest point in your life in a short amount of time. It feels good," said Acuri.

While Acuri was in detox, his friends said they saw him working out and doing push-ups from day one. While friend Matt Bell said he was a little intimidated, he did not realize that one of Acuri’s goals was to get back in shape. Bell and Acuri then started Team Recovery, where they are dedicated to helping other addicts get clean.

"It doesn’t matter how far down you’ve gone, due to your addiction or drugs or anything. It doesn’t even have to do with drugs; if you want to do something in your life, you can overcome things and do it and this is a perfect example of it," said Bell.

Acuri said fitness has become part of his recovery and therapy.

(Copyright (c) 2016 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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