VAN WERT — Well-known alcohol and drug recovery speaker Christopher Skinner grew up in an environment where it was easy to make bad choices.
He knows that environment does not provide him with an excuse for drug and alcohol addiction, but he now uses what he learned in that situation to help others.
Skinner spoke to a crowd of about 30 people Friday at Vantage Career Center about the now epidemic problem of addiction, including alcohol, heroin and prescription drug abuse.
“It really is a disease,” Skinner said. “It is like diabetes, it is a disease and that is backed by scientific research. You need treatment.”
Skinner grew up in a chaotic household and his father died when he was 8 years old in an alcohol-related traffic accident. His mother married later. Both his mother and his stepfather also battled addiction problems, and he even remembered finding his stepfather’s stash of marijuana when he was younger. Skinner often lived in poverty without enough food or clothes until their mother remarried. Her new husband was relatively well off.
“Everything I had heard about drugs at that point I thought it was a lie,” Skinner said. “He was making $200,000 a year.”
However, arguments were constant at home, and the family moved several times. Skinner finally began to seek drugs and alcohol to “put myself in a false sense of reality.”
He finally decided to seek help after he attempted to commit suicide by overdosing on prescription pills and being busted for driving under the influence for a fourth time in 2014.
Based on his experiences, Skinner founded Rockstar Recovery Group, which tries to help people recovery from addiction free of judgment or unrealistic time tables. The group helps with addicts of all types.
“If you messed up your life over five years, you are not going to fix it in a month,” Skinner said. “Sometimes there will be lapses.”
Skinner said right now only one out of 10 people are successful in recovering from addictions. He said he felt that number was not acceptable. He added that some other approaches such as DARE or 28-day programs are not always successful.
“DARE is well-intentioned but it is a lot of B.S. and it sometimes doesn’t do any good,” Skinner said. Skinner has started a website at rockstarrecovery.com that offers help, phone numbers and a variety of treatment options.
“I have been through it,” Skinner said. “I know what they are going through, and I am proof that you can get through it.”
Luxe Rehab Placement founder James Arnold also spoke and said how addicts can be assessed for free. He had further information available at luxerehabplacement.org.
Celebrate Recovery, a Christian-based recovery program and ministry operated by Trinity United Methodist Church in Van Wert, helped present the program. CR member Jane Schmid said it gives people one more weapon to combat a problem that she said is “epidemic.”
“The problem of addiction is huge,” Schmid said. “It will take everyone to make a difference.”
Reach Lance Mihm at 567-242-0409 or at Twitter@LanceMihm