Skab: Skin and Bones and a Few Ounces of Courage
Posted on 09 December 2015
I wrote SKAB: Skin and Bones with a Few Ounces of Courage as a personal reflection of my life and wanted to let others know the extreme battle I encountered with addiction. Of course I had plenty of guilt writing down the things nobody knew about, but I was never ashamed. That’s the message I really want to get across to people. Don’t be ashamed of your story.
I self-published SKAB through Amazon in March of 2014 and I never thought how it would change my life for the better. I figured it would be easiest to attract attention in my community, so I started off with book signings in my hometown of Adams, MA. I put up posters in local places to announce events such as this and it was really how everyone started to notice what I was trying to do. It wasn’t like hundreds of people showed up to my first book signing, but it was more than I expected. The amount of support I have in my community goes without notice.
My hometown and adjoining neighborhoods are really going through an unexpected upheaval of drug use, which saddens me. Nearly everyday in the newspaper you will find a drug bust where the influx of heroin has been astronomical. And that doesn’t have to do with anything behind the scenes. It’s crazy. So I just do my best to focus on the message I’m trying to send. The message of long-term recovery.
As SKAB began to reach more people in my area, I had the opportunity to speak to a Freshman class at my former high school. It was one of the toughest things I ever had to do. I didn’t really prepare for anything I was going to say, so my heart was pounding before I put my hand on the microphone. Once I began talking, everything clicked. The students’ faces were glued to mine as I spoke about my SKAB and my journey into recovery. It was a stepping stone for me. My whole outlook was to have at least one student get something out of it. Chris Herren, former Boston Celtic and recovering addict said it best: “Why do you have to change who you are on a Friday or Saturday night?” That’s the point I was trying to make to those students. I actually saw Chris speak and we exchanged our books. It’s always a cool feeling making connections in the recovery world.
I began using social media to help spread SKAB’s message. It’s main purpose is to help, inspire and bring hope to others struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. However, I soon found people getting my book for loved ones and others reading it for leisure. Anybody can read it. And that’s what I want. Even if you don’t have a problem with drugs or alcohol, SKAB can change the way you think about the way you really want to live. My brother read my book in one night. What I didn’t tell you is that my brother had never read a book in his life. SKAB’s a page turner and my story can relate to many people who may or may not have similar stories.
Community members even bought and donated numerous books so that high school students had a chance to read my story. As I began promoting my book on Facebook and Instagram, people all around the world began to respond. I began sending my book all across the United States, and signed copies for those that requested it. On the inside cover I always write SKAB’s motto, “Live Life, Be Happy!” It’s a phrase that I hold on tight to. I think it’s important to value life and the happiness that surround it, even though there may be some bumps in the road. I want to let people know who are struggling out there, whatever the case may be, that if I can overcome addiction then you can overcome anything you put your mind to.
I’m almost thirty years old and I still live with my parents. I don’t make much money. I don’t have a girlfriend. I’m not rushing into anything. I guess you could call Mr. Patience. But I do what I want and I’m happy. People all across the world have been reaching out for my help and I do my best to assist them during their time of struggle. I never thought I would have such an impact on people, but I’m glad that I can always be there for them. I ALWAYS respond, whatever the time of day, I try to just be there. Whether it be to just listen, share experiences, or give advice, it’s really an amazing feeling that I’m grateful for. People amaze me, and continue to do so everyday in their fight to obtain and sustain recovery.
I also try to be involved in recovery organizations in my community. I was a part of a recovery rally hosted by the Josh Bressette: Commit To Save A Life organization where I was able to display my books on site. Things like that are special to me. Being a part of the whole aspect of long-term recovery and its ability to have a voice for others to hear. I certainly want my voice to be heard and SKAB has been a huge part of my recovery to help others.
To wrap things up, I have a full-time job helping students with learning disabilities. I’m in Graduate School pursuing my Masters in Special Education. I have a great vehicle. I can go on vacations. I can see my favorite teams play. My family is so supportive of what I’m doing with my life. My friends respect my sobriety. I can put one foot in front of the other every single day without the use of drugs or alcohol. And that’s something I wouldn’t trade for the world. Everything else in life will fall into place.
On a further note, my second book is projected to be complete in March of 2016. SKAB: Skin and Bones with a Few Closed Wounds.