Q: Could you briefly tell us about yourself?
I’m Josh Hubler, I’m 30 years old as of February 1st. I served 6 years in the United States Army as a Chinook Helicopter mechanic. I had 1 tour of duty to Tallil, Iraq during my time in service. I have an Honorable discharge. I have 3 wonderful kids, Logan, Aidan, and Bella. I’m also engaged to a wonderful fiancé named Allison Fernando who is a huge inspiration to me and motivator in my recovery, as she as well is a recovering addict, and as of today has 2 years clean. I am currently in college at McCann School of Business & Technology and my major is Criminal Justice. I have so far a 4.0 grade point average and on my days I’m not in school I am at home with my kids taking care of them and making sure my school work is complete because today I focus on my responsibilities, which for so long was something I didn’t concern myself with. I attended North Schuylkill Jr/Sr high school where I dropped out in 11th grade. Soon after I got my GED from the Life Long Learning Center in Frackville on May 23, 2005. Not too long after that was when I decided to enlist in the US Army.
Q: What was your drug of choice? Q: What is your sobriety date?
My clean-sobriety date is March 7th 2015. Today I am 11 months clean and sober from all mind and mood altering chemicals and substances. My drug of choice was anything I could get my hands on and was in front of me. I was a garbage head and would do anything I could as long as it made me feel like I could get outside of myself. If I had to choose one it would be speed, methamphetamine, bath salts, or cocaine. But I have gone through my fair share of problems with opiates, heroin, and alcohol. You name it I’ve done it. You name it, I’ve struggled with it. I was the definition of an addict and physically dependent upon substances.
Q: Looking back, was there a turning point during your active addiction?
Man, there have been several turning points. To put my finger on just one would be naïve of me. Let us start with when I was young. I started stealing my dad’s cigarettes from him at a very young age. I would bury them in zip lock baggies underground in the woods behind my house. That was my first taste of addictive behavior. Stealing I got a thrill of knowing I could do something wrong and get away with it. As I progressed in my disease other habits became increasingly worse. I started using marijuana when I was 12 years old, Alcohol when I was 14, pain killers 14, cocaine and other speeder pills at 16, heroin when I was 20 and then started to use needles. I was injecting everything I could get my hands on. I didn’t have harsh punishment for what I was doing growing up. Once my mom and dad split, I then knew by staying with my dad I would be able to get away with much more and I used that to my advantage. I manipulated every situation around me and soon after my life would spiral out of control. I would go on to steal from my loved ones. Forging checks from my fathers and brothers bank accounts to support my habit. Something I still regret to this day. I would come up with reasons for why I needed money to get more. I gave up on my responsibilities such as work, my son, my financial situation. I accumulated over 40,000 dollars in hospital bills from going to the doctor to get my next fix. I came home from Iraq with over $50,000 dollars and would spend that in a month and a half. All on my drugs and selfishness. I had no stable ground. I created a life full of chaos, insanity and obsession. Most importantly above all, I lost myself, all self-respect, all dignity. I spent years ruining relationships with everyone around me but the most important relationship I lost was with myself. Once I got to the point I didn’t care if I lived or died that’s when I knew I needed help. I just didn’t know how to ask for it, or perhaps I did, I just didn’t care to ask for it.
Q: What is a slogan that best expresses your current point of view in recovery?
I just live one day at a time. I stay in the moment. Right here, right now, in this moment and don’t think about anything more or less. As far as slogans go I don’t really quote anymore. I used to live my life around quotes and slogans and things of that nature. Today I just focus on the day at hand and getting through it without picking up drugs and staying focused on my life moving forward. If I had to choose any type of slogan I would just say Never Give Up. You are never alone. If you need help, it is out there. Even if you don’t get it the first time, it’s okay. If you got to try 100 times before you get it right, just keep trying and hope you live to tell about it. I didn’t get it right away, and frankly I don’t think we ever get it. We never have this disease beat. We just learn to live our lives around the disease and adapt to it. If you have the ambition to get clean, keep trying because eventually something might click for you. I had to hit rock bottom, but once I did I knew it wasn’t worth the risk anymore. I wanted and had better things in my life than the use of drugs.
Q: What are some daily practices and key aspects in your life that assist you in your recovery?
Support is the first thing that comes to mind. Despite all of the wrong I’ve done to my family and the restless nights I’ve created for them. They still stand beside me. They encourage me and love me unconditionally. Sometimes, you just need someone to love you for a while until you learn to love yourself again. I had all the love in the world of people around me and the support of friends and loved ones. My fiancé and my kids stuck by my side and loved me when I didn’t love me anymore. My family loved me when I didn’t love me anymore. So I owe my recovery first and foremost to myself. I owe it to me to stay clean, but I owe it to the lives of those around me also. I thank GOD every day. In the morning, throughout the day, and at night for all the blessings in my life. For allowing me to live on this earth and possibly help other people. Every day I ask myself what can I do differently today that I did yesterday. How can I be better today than I was yesterday? Some days I fall short, and that’s okay because I’m not perfect. Today I strive to just get better, be open-minded and accept others and situations for what they are.
Q: As a person in recovery, do you have any advice you could offer to someone looking to get
clean?Just as I’ve said before, if you want help, and you feel like you can’t hold on anymore. Just ask for help. From anywhere. I called the cops on myself and told them I was suicidal and had the police take me to 5-P. That was how my journey started. I was desperate, I couldn’t stand who I was and who I was becoming and got to the point of insanity that I lost hope and called the police on myself. Sounds crazy I know, but that’s what I had to do for me. Even after that I didn’t get it right. I used again and 4 days later entered treatment on March 7, 2015. Since that day I haven’t looked back. There are programs available and people out there who will help you find the help you may need. Just reach out. Every day you continue to use, you’re gambling with your life. Today I choose life and my kids. I choose to help people and myself. I want my life back. I’m not where I want to be but I’m far from where I used to be.
Q: Addiction is affecting hundreds in Schuylkill County and abroad. It's very saddening. Any
advice to people trying to help their loved ones to seek help?Go to your local hospitals, call a crisis line, reach out to different rehabs and explain your situation. If you have the desire to stop using, than you are already more than half way there. You just need a foot in the door and give yourself a break. Give an honest effort and don’t laugh at the process. There is underlying reasons for each individual case as to why we use and can’t stop. Get to the bottom of trying to figure out why and find a solution for yourself. I love you if no one told you they do today. Sometimes it only starts with one person saying they care. You can get help if you want it.
Q: Why are projects like "The Skook Recovers" important in this day and age?
Projects like The Skook Recovers are important because they help families, addicts, friends of addicts, etc. become aware of the disease of addiction. Many of those who haven’t personally lived with addiction make it out to be this big stigma when in reality it really is a disease. A disease of your mind, body, soul and destroys the lives of those living with it and the ones of those around them. So any time that we can help raise awareness to this disease, the more we can help those who want help, or even those who don’t know it’s out there is amazing.
Q: Could you tell us about the good things that your new life in recovery has brought to you and/or improved, including what you are grateful for?
As far as myself, some good things that recovery has brought to me. First and foremost I have me back I am myself and can stand to look at the man looking back at me in the mirror. I don’t wake up every morning with the obsession of wanting to use drugs or wonder how I’m going to get my fix for the day, just to get me through the day. Back in June my dad passed away, I was able to use the tools of recovery to get through that pain and deal with it in a healthy manner. then just two weeks ago I lost my grand-father. Two devastating blows to my family, people who I loved with all my heart. I say that to say this, before I would have used to cover my pain and not deal with it. I dealt with it, got through it, and honor their memory by being the man that I set out to be. Today I have my son back in my life. I’m a father of 3 great kids, and I’m actively involved in their lives. I care today. My family is proud of who I’m becoming. I have most of my family back on my side again. I have a great fiancé who loves me and I can love her unconditionally and not just have someone in my life to use a materialistic object. I genuinely care and love her for her. I am in college for criminal justice and succeeding so far with excellent marks because I strive to do the best I can. The potential that people have saw in me for so many years, I finally show it in the work I do. I am in criminal justice because for so long I was a menace to society. Now I want to help clean it up. I support the war on drugs, but I also empathize with the still sick and suffering addict, because I’ve lived it and been there. I am eternally grateful for my life today, the people in it, and to be clean today to live to tell my story and maybe in the process give someone hope.
Q: Anything else you would like to add and/or people you would like to thank? (Comments,
projects, website, social media)For anyone still struggling or know anyone struggling. I love you, sometimes a little bit of love goes a long way when you don’t feel any or know what it is anymore. If you need help reach out and get it. Never give up, you are not alone, and people care that want to help you. Don’t give up on your dreams, they may be a little more difficult moving forward, but find something that motivates you and work towards your goals. Love yourself, and when you can’t let someone else. Find faith in something, and when you find it, hold on to it and don’t let go. You are worth it, I’m worth it, and we’re all worth it. Give yourself a chance, because not all hope is lost. Remember there is always someone out there who has it just a little bit worse and have made it. Live above the influence. If nobody told you that they love you today, I love you and god bless you all.