After Sandy Schronce’s youngest son died of an overdose, she says God told her to write a book.
“I didn’t want to do it; I’ve never liked writing or English class,” Schronce said. “But when God tells you to do something, you do it.”
Schronce said her family — husband, Bruce, and two sons — regularly attended church together. “We would worship together; we went on mission trips together — that was us,” she said.
When her youngest son, Hunter, was a sophomore in high school, he began experimenting with drugs and alcohol. “He would drink and smoke marijuana,” Schronce said.
Hunter was also a wrestler. By the time he was a junior in high school, he had to have surgery. “We’re not certain, but we think this had something to do with his addiction,” Schronce said. “We don’t want to say this is the exact reason, but it opened a wormhole into that world for him.”
Over the next few years, Hunter would try to stop using opioids with no success. “He would stay clean for months at a time, and he even tried a rehab,” Schronce said.
On July 15, 2017, Hunter died of an overdose. He was 23. “His smile would light up a room,” Schronce recalled. “He was very outgoing and energetic. He was loved by everyone.”
After his death, Schronce said she felt God calling her to write a book about her family’s experience. “It took me a little over a year to finish it. I didn’t think I could do it,” she said. “The hardest thing I’ve ever experienced is losing Hunter; (writing the book) was the second hardest.”
Schronce said that writing “The Promise: Joy Through the Brokenness” forced her to revisit the pain of having a loved one struggle with addiction. “When you’re right in the middle of it, you just try to get through it. You don’t realize how much it takes out of you,” she said.
“I know now why God wanted me to write the book,” Schronce said. “It helped me to heal, and now my family’s story has been shared with everyone. My hope and prayer for this book is that it helps other families dealing with what we dealt with.”
Schronce’s book is from the perspective of Hunter’s biggest supporters. “(The book) is written from mine, my husband’s, and my eldest son, Ethan’s, perspectives,” she said.
Schronce said her family felt the pain of Hunter’s struggle with addiction. “It was a roller-coaster ride,” she said. “Hunter would do well for a while, and then he would bottom out. We just had to take it day by day.”
The biggest lesson Schronce said she learned from her experience — and her advice to other families — is this: “Learn to let go and trust God’s plans, instead of what I wanted to happen.”
“I want other families going through hard journeys with addiction to experience God’s love, peace and joy as they read about my family’s experience,” Schronce said.
Schronce’s book, “The Promise: Joy Through the Brokenness,” can be purchased online through Amazon.
Emily Willis is a general assignment reporter at the Hickory Daily Record.
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