PARAMUS, N.J. — Every day after work, Paramus father Sean Jones has a choice to make.
Either, he can go to the bar and drink — and for a couple decades, that's exactly what he did.
Or, he can go to Great White CrossFit in Hackensack — and for the past several months, that's what he's been doing.
In a way, Jones swapped one addiction for another. But as he approaches his 10th year of drug and alcohol sobriety, he's OK with that.
"Being an addict, I do everything in excess," said the father of four, a Saddle Brook native. "I’ll eat in excess. I’ll party in excess.
So now, I CrossfFit in excess.
Rock bottom for Jones came in 2005, when his wife, Stacey, threw him out of the house and refused to let him visit their two boys.
He stayed with his brother and continued partying at the beginning. But after a while, reality set in: if Jones didn't get clean, he'd lose Stacey and the kids.
And so, Jones signed himself up for Alcoholics Anonymous and outpatient rehabilitation. He went to both religiously, moved back in with Stacey and soon after, the couple had a set of twin boys.
In 2008, Jones decided to make one other change and began training with Rutherford native Steve Ramos at 24-Hour Fitness.
"Steve changed my life," Jones said. "I was sober, but now I'm healthier."
Ramos made working out fun, and having a trainer held Jones accountable for working out.
Then, Stacey started training with Ramos' former girlfriend and now-wife, Tara Ramos, a Wayne native.
And when the Ramoses opened Great White CrossFit, the Joneses followed.
"I love it because it's something we can do together," said Jones, who recently went head-to-head in a burpee challenge at the gym with his 10-year-old son, Liam.
"I never thought I'd do something competitive at 45," he added. "You just don't think of it."
At first, the workouts seemed intimidating.
Jones had spent years wandering around a gym having barely broken a sweat, and suddenly he was expected to do box jumps?
Muscle-ups on the rings? Deadlifts?
Weren't those exercises only elite athletes could do?
But Tara and Steve helped him scale back the workouts. They encouraged him to keep going when the going got tough.
They taught him that there's no quitting when it comes to fitness, and now, doing so seems nearly impossible for Jones these days.
Besides, he knows a thing or two about staying strong.
"I can't imagine life without CrossFit," Jones said, "without Great White."
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