KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Metro Drug Coalition (MDC) and other local leaders are calling the first community recovery center in Knoxville, ‘hope for our community.’ The Gateway is aimed to provide a safe space for those in recovery to gather and connect, and as someone in recovery, Amanda Hankins said it’s exactly what she needs.

“I was sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Hankins said thinking back to when she made the decision to seek help.

She had struggled with addiction since she was 15. Now, she’s been in recovery for almost 2 years. Next month will make it official.

“Knowing that I don’t have all the answers and having a community behind me and having people stand behind me was the biggest way for me to be successful,” she said.

It’s that kind of community that MDC hopes to provide through the Gateway.

“Recovery meetings will happen here, social events, a ton of training behind the mission to give folks recovery support they need. It’s needed all day every day in this community, especially right here where we’re physically located,” Jason Goodman, the MDC director of recovery support services said.

Hankins plans to continue her recovery journey through The Gateway. It’s something she knows others also on the same path will need.

“Pain shared is pain lessened, and to be able to bond together, you create a good foundation for recovery, a good foundation for your life,” she said. “When you’re trying to change your life, it’s a hard thing to do and you can’t do it alone.”

Being alone is never the goal at The Gateway. As they plan to offer alternative treatment opportunities like art therapy classes and a music room filled with instruments, it’s a place Hankins hopes those in need of recovery services will take advantage of.

“This is a beautiful life. It’s worth all the hard work and all the tears and the whole process,” Hankins said. “It’s really just healing yourself and anybody can get clean. If you think you can’t, I used to think the same thing,” she said.

The Gateway wants to help those like Hankins realize that it is possible to enter a successful recovery.

“We want this to be a place where people know if they need a recovery support service if their family does, if their family needs to get a service for a family member, this will be the place to come.”

With the Gateway opening Friday, only half of the building will be open. They are working on adding a gym among other things to the center and that construction will begin within the next month.