Six years ago, Frank Cascino was pumping iron at a Johnstown gym with a heavy weight on his mind.
For 15 years, he suffered in silence with addiction, and newly sober, he was tackling recovery the same way – until his old high school gym teacher walked through the door with concern in his eyes.
“He walked up and said, ‘Frank, what’s going on with you?’ Cascino said.
In that moment, the 8th Ward man opened up, telling him ‘You’re looking at 15 years of hardcore substance abuse.’
“I was in shambles … but I told him I was trying to overcome it.”
His old teacher listened, and then reached out his hand as if to shake it, Cascino said.
When he reached back, the man gave him a hug – and words of encouragement he still carries with him today.
“He was proud of me for facing it … he congratulated me,” he said. “At that moment, I knew that stigma of addiction had nothing to do with me.”
Today, Cascino is one of a growing number of people sharing their story with anyone willing to listen that there’s life after addiction.
Now nearly six years sober, the founder of The Frontline will tell his story about recovery to a crowd Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church on Vine Street. And that’s just one of more than a half-dozen events scheduled over the next three weeks as part of National Recovery Month.
Whether it’s radio programs, faith-based support or live music at an event called Harvest of Hope, Cambria County Executive Director Ronna Yablonski said, there’ll be a central message: “Recovery happens.”
It’s a message that is vital today at a time too many people – and families affected by addiction – still view overcoming the disease as a hopeless path. But events being scheduled between now and early October will provide real-life examples that will erase that stigma,…