After battling her own addiction, woman opens center to help others

By Shayla Reaves

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    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- After years of battling addiction, a Twin Cities woman is helping others do the same.

Crystal Hill-Hover and her business partners opened the Twin Cities Wellness Center and Recovery Gym in January. The licensed facility is located at 2912 North Second Street in north Minneapolis, offering outpatient services for people recovering from addiction. The center focuses on mental and physical health, a journey Hill-Hover spent years navigating herself.

“I have something that I can offer anyone that walks through the door because I’ve been there where they’re at,” CEO and President Hill-Hover said. “I had been using drugs, I’ll say hardcore drugs since I was 15. I started drinking and smoking weed when I was 12. I never felt like I was anybody so that’s why I sold drugs. By the time I was in my early thirties … it was a game. I wanted to be the top dog and just run stuff. It’s really so pathetic when you look back at it but that’s what it was.”

Hill-Hover served time twice for felony drug charges and says an experience in prison boot-camp changed her life.

“Their very last question, they had us standing at attention, was, ‘See those doors right there?’ And it was the gym doors of the prison. ‘See those doors right there? This is your last chance. You’re going to change your life or you’re not,'” Hill-Hover said of the experience. “I had no idea what I was getting myself into and I remember saying, ‘It’s time, Crystal. You’re going to do it.’ And I did it.”

After more than 20 years battling addiction and an eating disorder, the wife, mother and business owner is now a certified peer recovery specialist. At age 40, she is off parole, celebrating six years of sobriety, earned her GED, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. She’s now working towards her doctorate.

“I said to myself, ‘I’ve got two first-degree felonies. The first time you got out of prison it was really hard. No one wants to hire you, no one trusts you, nothing,'” Hill-Hover said. “Now, my resume, MBA, no one is turning me away. I wanted to secure my future here. Education does that.”

Hill-Hover’s goal is to enroll 32 participants in the Twin Cities Wellness Center and Recovery Gym program. Ten active participants signed up by late January.

“She knows exactly what I’m going through. She knows exactly what the people are going through. She’s been through it. She’s lived. She’s succeeded from it,” participant Thomas Sederberg said. “I think it just gives me a level of respect.”

Hill-Hover shared advice for others struggling with addiction.

“You just have to keep pushing. The struggle is there for a reason. It’s there for a reason and you can get through it,” Hill-Hover said. “It’s OK to ask for help. It’s OK. It doesn’t make you less of a person. It doesn’t make you weak.”

The licensed Twin Cities Wellness Center and Recovery Gym offers group counseling and educational programming. Sessions address topics like peer relationships, healthy living, maintaining recovery as well as criminal and addictive thinking. For more information on the Twin Cities Wellness Center and Recovery Gym visit:tcwcrg.com


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