Let's show some love and encouragement for this young man named Hunter. At 17, he is the youngest person we know who has overcome the struggles of addiction, rose above them, entered a life of recovery, and is now participating in our project.
Like so many of us that are in recovery, Hunter knows there is a long road ahead and so much more to learn. We are here to support him, encourage him and inspire him - just as he is inspiring us! Keep up the good work hunter, thank you for sharing your experience, strength and hope. We are very proud of you!
Q: Could you briefly tell us about yourself?
A: I'm a fun and loving person and very grateful to be alive and to be able to do the things that I do today. I'm very big into Electronic Dance Music and many other types of music.I am a student at Tri-Valley and will soon attend Penn Tech college for diesel mechanics.
Q: What was your drug of choice?
A: Marijuana, Alcohol, Prescription Medications, Over the counter meds.
Q: What is your sobriety date?
A: October 14th, 2014
Q: Looking back, was there a turning point during your active addiction?
A: Absolutely, I was around 7 months into a program in Philadelphia and a kid had brought in suboxone and from past use I had heard that it wouldn't show up in my system so my mind started working again like the "old" times and it started racing with all these thoughts. I took this and for the rest of the week I had thoughts and the normal paranoia of "what if they find it in my system" (Surprise urine test the same day I had took it) and that final moment was when it was Friday when I was supposed to visit home with my family before I come home and see my family, they called me into an office and we talked about the whole situation and my mind was in so much shock that I still thought that I was going on my home pass. It was then that I realized that I had some real problems and that I needed to start sorting them out because If I didn't I was gonna end up dead somewhere with nothing. I didn't want that, I wanted something more I wanted to prove everyone that had doubted me - wrong and show them that with willpower and correct mind thinking, that I could change... and indeed that happened!
Q: What is a slogan that best expresses your current pint of view in recovery?
A: Something that best describes my recovery today would have to be strength and the will power to introduce change into your life and to be able to get rid of those "old friends" because if you don't get rid of them, they are like ghosts they will haunt you and keep coming back with no care of your current status on life.
Q: What are some daily practices and key aspects in your life that assist you in your recovery?
A:The one key thing that I used to do is never get rid of my old friends and now that I have I don't have to worry about those messages in the middle of the night or during the day bugging me about a ride or wanna get high? That is one of the biggest steps into recovery is forgetting those old friends because lets face it, they weren't your friends either you had the something they wanted or the money they needed and you were just in the mix of everything. The next thing that I do daily is that I try to stay as busy as possible, it doesn't matter what it is if its work or doing chores or gaming. I manage to keep my mind free of running thoughts and impulsive thoughts and I would honestly say that staying busy is one of the most key things in my recovery. Another thing that I do is still go and do outpatient I have been doing it even though I have been off probation for almost 4 or 5 months I find it very good to still be able to talk to someone about my issues or recovery problems on a monthly basis it allows my stress to decrease and allow it to go away perhaps, this is also a key thing I use and I will honestly continue to go to outpatient as long as I feel necessary.
Q: As a person in recovery, do you have any advice you could offer to someone looking to get clean?
A: If you are looking to get clean I would honestly say to go into recovery asap and go into there with an open mind and the willingness to accept change and soberness into your life, and if you don't feel that strong onto stuff like that I would see higher help such as god and other higher powers of that sort. But I would say be dedicated to bettering yourself and introducing yourself into a life where you don't have to think and act like an animal, my old rehab supervisor used to say " The life you all lived before this is comparable to animals in the wild" and you know what he was extremely correct on that part if you honestly think about its very true.
Q: Addiction is affecting hundreds in Schuylkill County and abroad. It's very saddening. Any advice to people trying to help their loved ones to seek help?
A: I would honestly suggest that you try to get them into recovery and that you make sure they want to change for the better part, and start a new chapter to their life in clean eyes. One thing I would say is even if they don't wanna change putting them in a place like that would help everyone in your family sleep better at night just to know that your loved one is in safe care. I can honestly say they might not want help at all but when the drugs start leaving their system and their mind becomes clear they are more apt to coming back and living a clean and sober life. Some people only need a higher power or something bigger then themselves to allow them to seek a better living environment and be motivated to stay on the sober path. And another big thing I would suggest is taking your loved ones to meetings this provides them with a place that has people that have been in there shoes and walked that walk and they understand so then that allows them to help new people into the rooms and gets them someone that can see through the lies and bs and wont feed into the excuses.
Q: Why are projects like "The Skook Recovers" important in this day and age?
A: Projects like this are good for many reasons, one of them being a chance for addicts in small towns like ours to have something even more than rehabs and the rooms, this project allows us to try to open the eyes of many people and allow them to see the light and help them understand how good life really is without drugs. And its also very good to help our youth understand the big and dark secret and "dabbling" with stuff like drugs and alcohol can lead to bigger things and bigger problems, I think this project will be good for small towns and every where it allows people to hear our stories and understand that drugs aren't a game and that phases most of the time turn into full on addictions and the sad thing is a lot of young kids especially and adults don't make it and end up gone earlier than what they should have this is why skook recovers is important because like I said with these stories comes the bigger picture.
Q: Tell us about the good things that your new life in recovery has brought to you and/or improved?
A:For one thing I have experience a lot of say.... good luck, once you start doing good and giving back it comes back around to help out in life. My home life has changed a lot everything goes much smoother when my parents aren't worried about my well being 24/7 and that they can start trusting me with keys, money, and important items, which is in my life now. I'm going to college in August of 2016, my friends trust me more and see me as the new me and not what I once was. I was able to pickup hobbies like building gaming computers and working on demo cars. My life has improved 100% since then and has gone on the better leaf and for the better. I'm very close to getting my permit and continuing life and when I turn 18 I get a new start with a clean record and will not have to worry about those convictions when I apply for a job.
Q: Anything else you would like to add and/or people you would like to thank? (comments, projects, website, social media)
A: If anyone wants to contact me via Facebook please feel free to do so I am able to talk and help anyone in some way. I hope that if someone reading this is trapped in the world of addiction that they reach out for help and be motivated to kick those demons and begin life. Also something that I recently learned about myself was that I am maturing and catching up to my current age, if you don't there are studies that show when you start using drugs your mental state stays at that but when you stop using drugs it gives your mind time to catch up.
YES, I would like to thank my family, especially my mother and father for sticking by me, loving me and always believing in me - even when things got rough. I would also like to thank The Featherhawk for being a positive role model and mentor in my life and for passing along all of his experience, strength and hope (and silliness) every time we get a chance to hang out. For all of the above, I am very blessed and grateful.
You can find me on-
Facebook: Hunter Vance
P.S. Hunter would like to also thank his friends for being positive towards his recovery!