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Stephen Hill delivered his powerful and passionate presentation "Speak Sobriety'' to UC students on Monday

By Jim Lambert
 
Stephen Hill delivered very passionate and powerful messages to the students of Union Catholic on Monday when he shared his personal struggles of drug addiction and his recovery during his presentation of “Speak Sobriety."
 
Hill, an addiction and motivational speaker and treatment and intervention consultant, explained how drug abuse nearly cost him his life, and highlighted the many benefits of living a clean and sober lifestyle.
 
Gateway drugs, decision making under the influence, binge drinking, prescription drugs, stigma, peer pressure, criminal justice, breaking the silence, wellness, and finding your passion were topics that Hill discussed throughout his presentation.
 
Hill was a drug user and dealer from the time he entered high school as a freshman until he was 24. During that decade long span of substance abuse, Hill was arrested multiple times, went to numerous detoxes and treatment programs, and had friends of his die from drug abuse.
 
The disease of addiction, particularly prescription painkillers, completely took over Hill’s life. He lost interest in school, sports, and his own well-being. On September 29th, 2012, Hill hit rock bottom and had his last drink/drug that day. Two days later, he entered his final treatment program. He ended up staying in that program for a year, and now he’s been clean and sober for more than six years.
 
“I used to wake up each day asking myself if I had enough drugs to get through the day, and how I could get more,’’ said Hill. “Drugs turned me into someone I wasn’t, but I didn’t care because when you are addicted you lose all sense of logic.’’
 
But Hill put his life back together. Family, friends, sports, health, fitness, wellness, and helping others are now the top priorities in his life.
 
Just before entering his third year of recovery, Hill went back to college and graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice. He’s now a student at Brooklyn Law School.

In May of 2018, with the help of his former SAT tutor, Marc Hoberman, Hill published his memoir “A Journey to Recovery,’’ which became the #1 New Release in Drug Dependency on Amazon.
 
“Everything bad that’s happened in my life happened because of drugs, and everything good that’s happened in my life has come from sobriety,’’ said Hill.’’
 
Hill acknowledged the everyday pressures and temptations that high school and college students are faced with, and he offered guidance to overcome those challenges.
 
“Most of you will go to college and you’ll see drugs and alcohol use all around you,’’ said Hill. “You will have decisions to make. I want you to believe in yourself and go out and take healthy risks to find your passion. Don’t take risks like I did that can take your life away. It’s not worth it. I found my passion, and I’m doing it right here, right now.’’
 
Dr. Jim Reagan Jr., Union Catholic's Assistant Principal, was very impressed by Hill and his presentation.

"I'm so glad Stephen Hill gave his Speaking Sobriety talk at Union Catholic," said Dr. Reagan. "He addressed current issues and shared his personal story. Our students responded to Stephen en masse and continued the conversation through all three lunch periods. I was quite impressed."
 
Hill’s presentation resonated with Union Catholic students.
 
“I feel his presentation helped everybody understand the impact of drug abuse,’’ said Union Catholic senior Bobby McGuinness, UC’s Student Council President. “What happened to him can happen to anyone if they go down the wrong path. I think everyone needed to hear his story. He made us all think about how we need to remember to always be safe, smart, and make good decisions. I think everyone took something out of this presentation because we are all at a point in our lives when we have our futures ahead of us. And I think it also served as a good wake up call to everyone. It can happen to anyone, so we all have to be good people, and help our friends and classmates if we ever see them start going down the wrong path.’’
 
Sister Donna Jo Repetti, a school counselor at Union Catholic, felt Mr. Hill’s story will make a lasting impression on Union Catholic’s students.
 
“I always believe that to hear someone’s story, it makes a difference,’’ said Sister Donna Jo. “Young people are always looking to help people and make a difference, and I felt that he gave them the permission to speak out on behalf of a peer or a family member. This was also a great reminder of the epidemic that’s around them, and let the students know that drugs and alcohol will rob you of who you are. I felt his story and message were very powerful. He lived to tell people the importance of life and being happy. I’m so happy that we had the opportunity and blessing to have him come and talk to our kids.’’
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