A Journey to Recovery: Speak Sobriety

Stephen Hill

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A Journey to Recovery: Speak Sobriety

Katie McGhee, Staff Writer

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On December 12th, 2018, a special visitor came to our school. This guest was none other than Stephen Hill, author of the newly released memoir A Journey to Recovery: Speak Sobriety. In his book he details his journey through drug addiction, explaining every moment during his presentation in our very own gym.

Hill delivered a moving speech about the reality of drug addiction and his experience with it. He promised us sincerely that he was not there to berate us into fearing the use of drugs, he was there to share a real-life story. Said story came to life as he described how he lost friends, family, and even himself as a result of drugs. He gave himself up, diving under the unforgiving waters of opioids. Eventually, he began to drown.

After a series of recuperation camps and programs, Hill finally began to get better. However, before this, he had developed a routine. He would get in trouble, go to a program for a day or two, and do it all again the next day. He sincerely believed that drugs would not affect him in the way that they actually did. Looking back on this, he told us that he had figured out an important tactic: surround yourself with the right people. Blot out the people who hurt you and welcome people who will do anything to help you.

However, Hill’s impact had a tactic: pure honesty. He talked to us, the student body, as if he was confiding in an equal instead of a group of young, impressionable adolescents. It was relishing and not at all patronizing to hear someone with such a passion for sharing their experiences speak honestly about consequences. It was because of his honesty that we learned an important fact: his addiction was not entirely caused by bad decisions. Shockingly, he told us that he has a disease that makes him take another sip, and another, until the damage had been done. It made the situation seem more dire and made Hill seem more heroic.

There was a moment during the presentation that was likely one of the more highlighted events: a student asked a question and it appeared that another was laughing at them. Hill, in reaction to this, stopped only to politely ask the inquirer to wait, then immediately made a slight speech about how it is incredibly rude to laugh at someone with genuine concern. It was inspiring to see someone who cared so deeply for someone else’s well-being and social standing.

To conclude his presentation, Hill had successfully conveyed a message when, put into simplest forms, sounded like this: no matter how innocent and appetizing something may seem, do not bite off a bigger piece than you can handle.