Let's give some love, support and encouragement for this young woman who was willing and able to share her experience, strength and hope today. 

Kelsey reminds us that it is important to surround ourselves with positive people who won't judge us, but will support and encourage us in our new way of life.

With these stories we are always reminded that there is not one set way to recover and that everyone's path is different. And that having a loving group of people behind us, will almost always has a positive affect on our recovery.

Q: Could you briefly tell us about yourself?

My name is Kelsey Stephen and I'm 22 years old. I started using pain killers around age 17. Just here and there to start. Then it became more popular and they were everywhere so started using more. I was hooked. About 3 years later I was introduced to heroin. The feeling was amazing. I felt like I was on top of the world...until I was sick. It went on for 2 years. Those two years are mostly a blur. When I was about 12 months clean I moved and started over. I made all new friends, got a new job, had a new life. I left everything else behind. I couldn't stay in the Skook while I was recovering. It was safer for myself basically. 

Q: What was your drug of choice? 

Q: What is your sobriety date?
December 16th 2013. 

Q: Looking back, was there a turning point during your active addiction?

There were many times throughout my addiction that I told myself I had to get better. I just never actually wanted to. The loss of someone very close to me is the reason I am clean today. 

Q: What is a slogan that best expresses your current point of view in recovery?

"One day at a time." Believe me, it gets easier. All you have to to do is take it one day at a time. You'll find ways to help better yourself. I won't lie, the thoughts never go away. You just have to be strong and brave enough to keep pushing forward. 

Q: What are some daily practices and key aspects in your life that assist you in your recovery? 

My new friends help the most. Once I got clean and felt good enough, I moved and basically started over. I cut out all of my old "friends". I made a whole new friend group and they support me and they never judged me for my past. Just stay positive every day!

Q: As a person in recovery, do you have any advice you could offer to someone looking to get clean?

You are not alone. There are so many people around you who truly care for you and want the best for you. You have people that have been through the same exact thing you're going through so no matter what you will always have someone by your side. 

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?

Honestly after so much you may need to cut them off. As much as it hurts to do so, it has to be done. If they willingly want to get help then stick by their side at all times. Support them and don't look down on them. If you stay positive with them and for them, they'll stay positive too because no matter who you are, an addict or not, everyone loves the feeling of making others proud of them. 

Q: Why are projects like "The Skook Recovers" important in this day and age?

I think they are important because addiction is a major issue and spreading the word helps. The more people know about addiction the more they can help. 

Q: Could you tell us about the good things that your new life in recovery has brought to you and/or improved, including what you are grateful for?

So many new wonderful things! I rescued a puppy at 15 weeks. He's now a year and a half. I have a great relationship with my mom again. When I was using we never talked. And when we did talk we would fight. It was terrible. I was heartbroken and at that time I was in denial about it being my fault. Now I realize I was to blame and made things better again. Things are back to normal now and I couldn't be happier. 

Q: Anything else you would like to add and/or people you would like to thank?

I hope people actually read these and start understanding more. All the addicts need to know that you can do it! You can survive without getting high. I promise you you won't regret it. You'll look better, you'll feel better, and most importantly you'll have your life back! Reach out to someone. Anyone. You can get help and you can get clean.