Trading in addiction for fitness lands Louisville man on cover o - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Trading in addiction for fitness lands Louisville man on cover of Men's Health Magazine

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- To look at Michael Durbree is to look at the epitome of fitness. He spends six days week for hours at a time in the gym.

"It just feels good to come in here and throw some weight on a barbell and blow off a little steam," said Dubree.

That hard work has landed him on the cover of November's Men's Health Magazine. "My exact words were 'oh my God'," said Dubree.

Just looking at Dubree, it's hard to believe only a few years ago he was at his weakest point. "Spiritually, physically, and mentally I was basically bankrupt," said Dubree. 

At just 13 years old, Dubree started using drugs and alcohol. Marijuana quickly graduated to meth. A heart attack at 20 years old landed him in the hospital where he was introduced to opiates. He became another victim of the nation's opioid epidemic.

"That opened up a completely new door as far as drug use is concerned," said Dubree.

Homeless and at rock bottom, Dubree wound up at The Healing Place, a broken shell of a man. "Prior to getting sober, I was very skinny and malnourished. I weighed about 150, 160 pounds," said Dubree.

It's a stark contrast to the man you see today, but taking that first step into the gym turned his life around.

"I've been coming ever since. That's been almost seven years ago," he said.

Today, he has a new addiction. A healthy, active lifestyle that transformed his body into a power house.

"He's been on a journey, and I loved his story and I wanted to share it with as many people as possible," said his girlfriend, Holly Munzinger.

She entered him in the ultimate Men's Health Guy Search, a nationwide call for the man who embodies the magazine's mission. "Little did I know  everybody else thought he was just as awesome as I did," said Munzinger.

Dubree is now a cover model, telling his story to inspire others struggling with addiction.

"He was the first person to stick his hand out to me there and he helped me along the way," said Chris Merrifield who met Dubree in a halfway house.

"He saved my life and I don't have any doubts about that," said Merrifield.

Now the two lift together in the gym.

"He talks about seeing the guys on the magazine. He was our magazine guy. Way before he was on the magazine, we always wanted to look like him," said Merrifield.

A true transformation, proving even at the weakest point, strength can overcome. 

Dubree's issue of Men's Health Magazine is available now.

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