Former Addict Gives Back to Others as Addiction Counselor

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It's heartbreaking to see once-vibrant people succumb to drug or alcohol addiction.

Many of them never succeed in kicking the habit, some even overdose and die. But there are also success stories.

And those stories usually involve loving family support.

Shannon Huber has been sober for 24 years but she doesn't claim to be cured. She's still in recovery. And now she's helping others on their road to recovery as an addiction counselor.

She says addicts aren't bad people, but a few bad choices and their brains are altered.

"Addicts are very intelligent and can do anything if they have the right team to support them in long term recovery. It's a family disease, so they're suffering, too. And they don't know what to do, and they feel helpless themselves," says Huber.

She says addicts won't volunteer to go into rehab. Families need to be open about the problem and show resolve to do something.

"So if somebody gets out of treatment, and they're using heroin, it's not okay if Dad says, 'Do you want a beer?' It's got to be absolute abstinence. And so educating, a drug is a drug is a drug, including alcohol," says Huber.

She says addicts will lie to get what they want.

"If they're asking for money for, you know, gas three times a day or a week,yeah, they're lying to you. If they're asking for money for, you know, to go to the movie three times a day. The money, missing money, that's a big thing. And just where they're going and where they're at. And if they're isolating themselves, too. That's a huge one," says Huber.

Shannon says you should consider addiction a disease, and recognize that people can't cure themselves.

It's her passion to help addicts recover and bring their families into the process.

Shannon will be speaking at the Ramada Inn in Bismarck Saturday night at 7 p.m.

She'll tell of her own struggle with addiction and how she made it through. And she'll help families know what to do to help a loved one.