Recovering Addict Speaks to Upperclassmen

Drug addiction has become a serious problem and topic for discussion, but nobody truly understands the problem as much as someone who has experienced these problems at firsthand. Western Reserve Academy had the honor to hear from John, a recovering heroine addict. This was great learning experience for the juniors and seniors, as we heard the story of a former drug addict who also attended WRA.

John is currently a recovering drug addict who went to WRA. Sasha Maseelall ’96, a member of the English, department went to WRA around the same time as John, and her sister was friends with John. Long after their graduation, Maseelall saw his video on the Hudson High School website and recognized him. She reached out to him on Facebook, and he has kindly accepted to share his story to the school.

The upperclassmen gathered up in the memorial gym on October 5th for Class Seminar to hear John speak. Most people said they sat and waited for another lecture, but did not anticipate for a person who had drug problems to come talk to them. This amazed many students and made them more interested on the topic. John gave a wonderful speech on the his struggle and the impact drugs had on his life: how it has affected his career, marriage, status, and confidence in himself. He said that he used drugs to keep himself steady in life, as there were constant problems occupying him. However, this drug problem took toll on him, and no matter how much he wanted to avoid it, it was seemingly impossible. It was only when he reached out to other people that he has finally found himself capable of recovering from drugs. However, mere words put into a few lines cannot describe what John truly went gone through, so for anybody interested to learn more, his video can be found on the Hudson High School web page.

John’s lecture impacted deeply many students, as some of them were happy to share their opinions on his story. Jihyeon Je ’19 really appreciated how open John was to the students, saying, “it was very brave of him to face this problem, and have no fear in expressing his thoughts and feelings on such a sensitive subject.” She thought that the story was even more touching as it was expressed from somebody who faced the problems of drug addiction, which made it more relatable and understandable for the students. This is different from the lectures that students typically heard. The guest speaker also impressed Daniil Leis ’19, who after hearing his story, had an great amount of respect for the guest speaker. Leis was stirred to learn how easily one can become addicted. He stayed after the Class Seminar to ask John more questions, which allowed him to receive deeper feedback on the story. “Another incredible thing about John,” remarked Nevin Joyce ’19, “is how much self-control John had on his recovery. He has sustained not only from drugs, but also from alcohol and tobacco, which is really tough for many people”.

John has left many students interested and intrigued by his extraordinary story. Maseelall is very pleased with the Class Seminar, and is surely inviting John over again next year to discuss the same topic to upcoming upperclassmen.

– Tien Nguyen ’19

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