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All-American Addict: A Journey to Recovery

This keynote presentation begins with a five minute introduction video aimed at knocking down the stigma attached to the disease of addiction, and setting the stage for a powerful, honest and heartfelt story. The video has clips of Stephen growing up as a child, doing what he loved to do most—playing sports. Stephen’s mother narrates, emphasizing what a great childhood and family life Stephen and his three brothers had growing up. “No one saw this coming.” After brief interviews with Stephen’s father and three brothers talking about the harmful effects Stephen’s addiction had on his family, Stephen will make his entrance, grab the mic, and hit the stage.

Stephen shows students through his life experience how addiction can unfold, the consequences of substance use, and how difficult it is to recover. This story telling technique allows each individual person to draw conclusions in their own meaningful way as it relates to their own life.

Stephen focuses on the progression of his drug addiction—beginning to end—leaving students with a better understanding of how the decisions they make today will affect them for the rest of their lives. The trifecta gateway drugs of nicotine, marijuana, and alcohol introduced to Stephen in 8th grade by older peers was just the beginning, eventually leading to self-destructive behaviors, criminal convictions, and a deathly opioid addiction.

He will take students through his dark days in addiction and slowly transition into sobriety, stressing the long, difficult, and everyday battle of living a life in recovery. Stephen ends his presentation with hope and motivation to chase your dreams, be kind and understanding of others, and to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

Break The Silence: Lets Talk About It

For those who have heard Stephen speak, and especially those who have also read his book know that he shares many experiences which are extremely difficult to talk about. Stephen prides himself on keeping his presentation real and authentic by being completely open and honest about the topics and issues surrounding drug and alcohol use.

Break The Silence: Lets Talk About It is a follow up program to Stephen’s assembly presentation that gives students the opportunity to ask more personal questions about Stephen’s story and share their own experiences and struggles in a small, safe classroom setting. Students can ask questions about any of the topics discussed throughout Stephen’s assembly presentation, or any general questions related to substance abuse, vaping, mental health, wellness, decision making, criminal justice, peer pressure, etc.

This follow-up program also gives schools the opportunity to have Stephen meet with all of the captains of sports teams. He will talk about the role of a captain on and off the field, stressing the importance of the student-athlete. He will emphasize how much of an impact, both positive and negative, captains can have on the culture of a team. Stephen will ask the participants to describe in their own words what they believe their role is. He will encourage the athletes to reflect on their current attitude and actions, and to ask themselves if they are fulfilling their role as captain. Stephen and the captains will also discuss what actions can be taken to improve leadership roles.

For the Parents:

When speaking to parents, Stephen is sure to place a great deal of emphasis on prevention through protection. Using his personal experiences with his own parents, as well as knowledge gained while working in the field of recovery, Stephen pinpoints potential threats and warning signs for parents to look out for. By expressing the trial and error process he and his family went through before finally achieving sobriety, Stephen hopes families can avoid some of the costly hardships that were a part of his journey.

As an avid believer in the disease concept, Stephen will explain addiction as a fatal progressive illness. He will touch on enabling, denial, secrets, under age drinking parties, the criminal justice system, triggers, keeping an open line of communication, and parent support groups throughout the presentation.

 

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