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A recovering heroin addict shares his story

Abe Nirschl Speaks at 'Heroin Highway Lecture Series' on May 3rd, 2017 (WLUK/Mike Moon)
Abe Nirschl Speaks at 'Heroin Highway Lecture Series' on May 3rd, 2017 (WLUK/Mike Moon)
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GRAND CHUTE (WLUK) -- It's been months since Abe Nirschl last used heroin.

"I've been sober since September 20, 2016," he told FOX 11 News.

After a decade of addiction ruling his life, Nirschl told us his life now revolves around sobriety.

"I wake up in the morning and it's another day and I have to take the appropriate steps each day to remain sober," he explained.

Nirschl shared his story during the 'Heroin Highway Lecture Series' Wednesday at Fox Valley Technical College.

"It took everything from me. I mean, that was my whole focus. I lost focus on relationships. I ended up going to prison three times," said Nirschl, explaining what the drug did to his life.

Nirschl told FOX 11 he hit rock bottom when he went to prison for stealing from his own family to pay for drugs. That's when he was given the chance to go to treatment and learned a valuable lesson.

"I was always scared to ask for help. I looked at it like, 'I got myself into this. I can get out on my own,' and I can't," he explained.

Jessica Geschke is the President of Stop Heroin Now, a non-profit Nirschl also works with. The group raises money to send addicts to treatment.

Geschke told us recovery is not easy. Sometimes it takes several tries for it to work. She said the goal is not to lose hope.

"They can make it and today could be the day that's the turning point for somebody and they get into long-term recovery and have successful, productive lives," explained Geschke.

Geschke told FOX 11 the first step toward ending the addiction epidemic is to stop the stigma surrounding it.

"People just need compassion, they need love and they need help," she said.

"Reach out and see that these aren't bad people. These are people that are struggling," Nirschl added.

Nirschl also has advice for others struggling with addiction.

"I would recommend to people that are out there to reach out and ask for help and the support that is needed, because it can't be done alone," he said.

There will be another 'Heroin Highway' lecture series next Wednesday evening. That will also be at Fox Valley Technical College. For more information go here.

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For more information on Stop Heroin Now, go here.

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