Harrison Wolff, center, instructs how to use kettle balls during a class at Remedy Athletics in Marysville, Washington on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Harrison Wolff, center, instructs how to use kettle balls during a class at Remedy Athletics in Marysville, Washington on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Sobriety, then strength: Cost-free CrossFit in Marysville changes lives

Anyone recovering from addiction is welcome at the Remedy Recovery class. The only requirement is 24 hours of sobriety.

MARYSVILLE — Four years ago, Harrison Wolff couldn’t have seen himself where he is today.

Wolff was addicted to alcohol and going to a treatment program for help.

“I was on the liver transplant list,” he said. “I had nothing to my name.”

Today, he is four years sober. He has a wife and kid. He bought a house. And he coaches CrossFit, a job he calls his “dream.”

Wolff leads a class three times a week at Remedy Athletics in Marysville for people recovering from substance use disorder to work out and meet people with similar experiences — at no cost.

The only requirement is 24 hours of sobriety.

Whether someone is behind on bills, spending money on court payments or treatment, looking for a job or just out of money, Wolff doesn’t want to make people pay.

“When you get out of treatment or you’re newly sober, you don’t have money,” Wolff said.

At the start of a Remedy Recovery CrossFit practice, participants stand in a circle to say their name and the date they began their sobriety. Attendees come from around the county. Some have several years under their belt, with others only having a few weeks or months.

The camaraderie between the athletes is clear. Attendees high-five and fist-bump each other throughout the one-hour practice. Some give each other tips on their weightlifting form, while others, still out of breath from their own workout, cheer people on for finishing a hard set.

Adam Olsen, right, smiles while completing training exercises during a class lead by Harrison Wolff at Remedy Athletics in Marysville, Washington on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Adam Olsen, right, smiles while completing training exercises during a class lead by Harrison Wolff at Remedy Athletics in Marysville, Washington on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Wolff floats around the room, guiding his students through the moves, correcting mistakes when he sees them.

He began teaching the class earlier this year after inheriting it from another coach.

He went through a treatment program at Northpoint in Edmonds. There, the program integrated CrossFit in the process.

Wolff didn’t like it at first because of a stigma that CrossFit is dangerous. But over time, he began to understand the fundamentals and how to work out safely.

“As soon as I got out of treatment, I went and found a CrossFit gym,” he said. “Ever since then, it’s changed my life.”

When Wolff started teaching, he only saw one or two people per class. This month, he’s seeing record numbers of people joining. His class record is 19.

Wolff used donations to print out flyers and business cards promoting the class. Word of mouth has been the driver of attendance and donations, he said.

Sarah Sewares has been attending the classes since Wolff started. On some days, it was just the two of them.

Sewares has transformed since starting the classes. In January, she had just given birth to her child and was trying to maintain her sobriety.

The classes have taught her discipline, she said. Since starting, she has lost over 60 pounds.

CrossFit is intense, Wolff said. It combines weightlifting and cardio at high intensity paces and intervals.

Participants complete training exercises during a class lead by Harrison Wolff at Remedy Athletics in Marysville, Washington on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Participants complete training exercises during a class lead by Harrison Wolff at Remedy Athletics in Marysville, Washington on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

A lot of people don’t stick around for that reason. But those who do get stronger and improve their mental health and confidence, Wolff said.

“When I first got sober, I didn’t want to go to meetings, I wasn’t confident enough in my own skin,” he said.

But the feeling of accomplishment after completing a difficult workout is rewarding and gives the participants a sense of pride, he said.

Cecilia Jones tried out other CrossFit gyms before going to Remedy Athletics. No one supported her like Wolff and his fellow coaches.

Since going to the Remedy Recovery sessions, she has been able to compete in weightlifting competitions through the gym.

Unlike past experiences, the coaches here believed in her, Jones said.

Wolff said helping people get sober and stay sober helps his own journey.

“There’s all these things you can do just by showing up and working out and working a 12-step program,” he said.

Instructor Harrison Wolff, left, talks to Damion Arcilloo, right, during a class lead by Wolff at Remedy Athletics in Marysville, Washington on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Instructor Harrison Wolff, left, talks to Damion Arcilloo, right, during a class lead by Wolff at Remedy Athletics in Marysville, Washington on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Once the hour is up and the practice is over, Wolff and his athletes often take a walk around the block. It is their way of cooling down after a tough practice and talking about something other than CrossFit. On the sidewalk under the street lamps, the attendees laugh with each other, their energy high after the intense workout.

Wolff has big aspirations for Remedy Recovery. The class was approved to become a nonprofit last week. Now, tax-exempt donations and grants will keep the business afloat.

At some point, he wants his own building. There, he can lead his own recovery meetings. He also wants to incorporate nutrition and teach people about meal planning.

“Getting sober, you need nutrients and CrossFit burns a lot out of your body,” he said.

Ideally, his building would have 24-hour access, he said, to help people at any time.

“If I can give as much passion that I hold into one of them,” Wolff said, “then I know that I’ve done my job.”

Interested in joining?

Remedy Athletics is located at 1528 3rd St. in Marysville. Remedy Recovery meets on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Donations are welcome.

Jenelle Baumbach: 360-352-8623; jenelle.baumbach@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jenelleclar.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Marysville
1 pedestrian dead after car crash on I-5 south of Marysville

Around 5 p.m., a car crashed into a pedestrian on I-5. Investigators were working to determine exactly what happened.

FILE - A person walks near the Legislative Building, Wednesday, April 21, 2021, at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. Washington's redistricting commission failed to meet its deadline and on Tuesday, Nov. 16, kicked the job of creating new political maps to the state Supreme Court. The bipartisan commission had a deadline of 11:59 p.m. Monday to approve new boundaries for congressional and legislative districts following the 2020 census. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Do Snohomish County lawmakers want a 2020 presidential rematch?

The Herald contacted seven Republican legislators representing parts of Snohomish County about their primary choice. Five did not respond.

A man walks by Pfizer headquarters, Friday, Feb. 5, 2021, in New York. Pfizer will spend about $43 billion to buy Seagen and broaden its reach into cancer treatments, the pharmaceutical giant said. (AP Photo / Mark Lennihan, File)
Pfizer backs out of Everett manufacturing plant after $43B Seagen deal

Pfizer finalized the acquisition of the Bothell-based cancer drug developer in December.

Photo provided by 
Economic Alliance
Economic Alliance presented one of the Washington Rising Stem Awards to Katie Larios, a senior at Mountlake Terrace High School.
Mountlake Terrace High School senior wins state STEM award

Katie Larios was honored at an Economic Alliance gathering: “A champion for other young women of color in STEM.”

A view of one of the potential locations of the new Aquasox stadium on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 in Everett, Washington. The site sits between Hewitt Avenue, Broadway, Pacific Avenue and the railroad. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
20 businesses could be demolished for downtown Everett stadium

Some business owners say the city didn’t tell them of plans for a new AquaSox stadium that could displace their businesses.

Kathy Purviance-Snow poses for a photo in her computer lab at Snohomish High School on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, in Snohomish, WA. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
To ban or embrace ChatGPT? Local teachers fight AI with AI — or don’t

“It has fundamentally changed my teaching in really stressful and exciting ways,” an EvCC teacher said. At all levels of education, ChatGPT poses a tricky question.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

A heavily damaged Washington State Patrol vehicle is hauled away after a crash killed a trooper on southbound I-5 early Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Police: Lynnwood man smoked marijuana before crashing into trooper

Chris Gadd, 27, was stopped along southbound I-5 when he was hit and killed early Saturday. Troopers suspect the driver was impaired.

Madi Humphries, 9, Rose Austin, 13, and Eirene Ritting, 8, on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2024 in Bothell, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
No grades, no teachers: Inside a Bothell school run by student vote

Each day at The Clearwater School, 60 students choose their own lessons. It’s one vote per person, whether you’re staff or student.

SonShine Preschool inside First Baptist Church Monroe is pictured Friday, March 1, 2024, in Monroe, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
SonShine preschool in Monroe to close at the end of the year

The preschool, operated by First Baptist Church, served kids for 25 years. School leadership did not explain the reason behind the closure.

Two troopers place a photo of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Chris Gadd outside WSP District 7 Headquarters about twelve hours after Gadd was struck and killed in a collision on southbound I-5 about a mile from the headquarters on Saturday, March 2, 2024, in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
State trooper killed, 1 arrested in crash on I-5 near Marysville

Authorities said Trooper Chris Gadd had been stopped along the freeway around 3 a.m. near 136th Street NE. A Lynnwood driver, 32, was arrested.

Providence Hospital in Everett at sunset Monday night on December 11, 2017. Officials Providence St. Joseph Health Ascension Health reportedly are discussing a merger that would create a chain of hospitals, including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, plus clinics and medical care centers in 26 states spanning both coasts. (Kevin Clark / The Daily Herald)
Following lawsuit, Providence commits to improved care for Deaf patients

Three patients from Snohomish County sued Providence in 2022 for alleged Americans with Disabilities Act violations.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.