He is now four years, five months and 24 day clean he told me. He is most proud that he has reconnected with two of his children who had basically disowned him.
Below was a social media post I made then. I didn't write the story that was in the paper, but spent a bit of time with him so I learned a lot about his motivations and drive.
"Motivation is better than any drug in the world," Tim Crose of Oil City said as he worked out with his friends at the gym.
"You wanna be average... or savage" he yells out to his buddy while pushing up 80 pound barbells in each hand during a set of ten.
Crose had hit a very low point - jail time - panic attacks - weighing just a little over 100 pounds - taking several combinations of drugs. But one day he decided he wanted to live.
Over the last three years he has spent a lot of time in the gym. He has gained weight in muscle and is nearing his goal of over 200 pounds.
"I got big dreams now that my head is right," he said. "This is better than any drug."
He can be found most evenings working out with his friends, a small group of folks battling their own addictions and trying desperately to get their lives in order. He is trying to spread the word that addiction and drug use can be overcome.
He is using social media to put out motivation and offer a supportive ear for those seeking help.
Two Facebook groups: T.L.C. Addiction Awareness and "Tim Crose--T.LC. Second Chance Fitness" are growing in popularity and through these connections he has been able to help some others.
The 39-year-old started using when he was in his mid-teens. He has had several friends and family die from abuse or from drug related issues. He wants to be a voice for every friend he has ever lost to drugs. He knows how hard it is to beat drugs and many people fail even with good faith attempts to get clean.
It's hard to fight the demons and easy to get pulled back in, he said.
After methodone rehab earlier in life, Crose ended up using again. He has since been able to acknowledge the seriousness of his problem and proceeds toward a better life for himself one day at a time.
He weened himself off the rehab drugs. He admits nothing can be done over night and every day is still a struggle.
To continue to fight back, Crose takes to the gym to not only build physical strength, but mental strength as well. He wants to be an example of what life without drugs could mean to other users and former users.
"This is my family," he said, pointing around the gym. "My home away from home."
Over the years drug usage cost him friends, now pushing back against that lifestyle is creating new friendships and bonds.
"Drug addiction is everywhere, and I want to help people, if I help one person and that person helps another...." Crose said before pausing to think for a minute, "I just want my pain to be heard, maybe that will help someone else who is in pain."
He likes to work out late at night because he thinks that is the time that is hardest for users and that is a time he can help more people.
He can now bench press 265 pounds and weighs 190, quite a contrast from being as low as 105.