Oil City Man Fighting Addiction with Fitness

| July 21, 2019

OIL CITY, Pa. (EYT) – For one Oil City man, the road to recovery from addiction led in a totally new direction.

Tim Crose has been battling drug addiction since the early years of his youth.

He grew up in Oil City, dealing with what he refers to simply as a “bad home life” that didn’t start him out on the best path in life. His drug abuse began around the age of 13 or 14.

“It started out as a social thing because my friends were using drugs and I wanted to fit in,” Crose told exploreVenango.com.

He started school in Oil City, and after repeated disciplinary issues, including issues with drugs, he was forced to transfer to Franklin, then was eventually forced to leave Franklin Area School District, as well.

His drug abuse continued, though, going from “robotripping” on over the counter cold medication to heavier drug use, ranging from prescription pain pills to cocaine, crack cocaine, and even heroin, although he noted he never did inject anything.

“I was always too scared to stick needles in my arms. At the time, I thought I wasn’t a junkie because I wasn’t using through my veins. Then, I came to realize it didn’t matter if I used needles or not.”

According to Crose, drug abuse had serious negative effects on his life.

“I had so many fines, but would rather get high than pay the fines,” he noted.

He was in and out of jail on a regular basis for drug charges and non-payment of fines and found little help in the criminal justice system.

“Venango County Jail had no rehab program. Once you were in jail, you had to deal with it yourself. There was no support system. And, the other people in there, for the same things, just spent their time talking about what they were going to do when they got out, about how not to get caught the next time.”

He also noted that drugs in the jail itself continue to be a problem. Crose said he has an extended family member who is currently incarcerated and was recently found to have used methamphetamine while in jail.

Crose himself began his road to recovery in late 2009. His first attempt at getting clean was through a methadone clinic. He relapsed after his first full month clean in August 2014. He returned to the clinic to go back on methadone in September and spent another year tapering down his dosage, though that was also an issue.

“To me, methadone is not a rehab drug,” Crose said.

“Methadone made me so skinny, it was literally killing me. I got down to 105 pounds on methadone. I couldn’t eat, and to be honest, I was only really going up there to continue to get high.

“Methadone, to me, was a full-blown high. I got caught so many times driving without a license because I wanted that fix, and it sucked. It ruined my life, more than it already was.”

After being clean, and off methadone for a year, he began having problems again in late 2016, trying to fight the urge to relapse. At that time, he visited a new doctor and began treatment with suboxone.

“The only drug I took that helped was suboxone,” Crose explained.

“It was like a miracle drug for me. It stopped the cravings and evened out my mood. It was a really amazing thing because I had lost all hope at that point.”

According to Crose, he took his time tapering off the dosage of the suboxone, in fear of dealing with severe withdrawal symptoms after 25 years of drug use, but he finally took his final dose in September of 2017.

“Since then, I haven’t touched anything or even had the urge,” he noted.

“I’ve never been as healthy as I am now. It was the best decision I ever made.”

Crose said that after he got clean, his eyes were opened to how bad the drug epidemic in the local region had become.

“I tried AA and NA meetings and realized I had to do this myself. The problem is, in Venango County, they’ll sell you drugs right outside the NA meetings, that’s how bad it is.”

After he got clean, he began using fitness as a focus for his energy and also began sharing his story online.

“As I progressed, on Facebook and Instagram, I realized I was helping others by sharing what I was going through, and everyone started really supporting me, too. People started sending me protein powder and workouts, and that made me want to continue even more. They were helping me because I was motivating them.”

He started building up his own personal gym in his apartment, building it from scratch and also started working out at Family Fitness in Oil City.

“Chris Snyder at Family Fitness was a big supporter. He helps me if I want to bring in someone new, and they’re having problems or trying to come off things, he’ll let me take them in to work out and see if they like it and want to be there. He works with them to get them in there and has even let a couple of guys make small payments toward their membership because some guys can’t come up with the full fee for the first month all at once.”

“He’s been like a guardian angel, and I owe him a lot.”

Crose noted that at Family Fitness, he’s also found support from some unexpected places, including one police officer who had arrested him on multiple occasions when he was still actively using.

“He used to arrest me back in the day, now he’s all motivation. It’s weird how things change. I never thought I would be living today, in good shape, and working out with the cops that used to arrest me.”

From feeling constantly ill and seriously underweight at 105 pounds, Crose has worked his way up to 200 pounds of muscle and willpower, and he’s enjoying helping others to do the same.

Tim Crose before and after getting clean.

He runs two Facebook groups: T.L.C Addiction Recovery Support and T.L.C Second Chance Fitness and recovery group.

“I will always be an addict, and I understand that, but I changed my addiction to fitness because that’s a positive thing, a healthy thing. It’s better than being 105 pounds and sick every day. Really, the best thing I did was focus on fitness while coming off of things, since I had to rebuild my strength after being like that 25 years.”

Taking it beyond himself, sharing his story and encouraging and helping others, has given him a new lease on life, as well.

“When you have a team you created and are proud of, and proud to be a part of, it makes such a difference. It helps with depression, it helps with stress.

“Instead of trying to find drugs, I pick up some weights, and I think I get a better ‘high’ from lifting weights than I ever did from any drug I ever tried.

“Being clean is an amazing feeling.”

The groups that Crose has started have continued to grow, and he says that helping other people has helped him, as well.

“I love my groups. They help me so much. I post stuff several times per day, and I even let people see the bad times, but show that I don’t need drugs to get through them.”

He noted that his girlfriend, Cathy Dolan, has been one of his main supports through his entire journey as well.

Looking forward, Crose is hoping to continue what he’s doing, but also, to take on a more professional role.

“I am going to study to get my GED and work on becoming a personal trainer. I would like to do this for a living, but for now, I’m still helping people coming off drug addiction and other addictions.”

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