Warrior Wednesday: Greg “Buddy” Yancer
“Anger was probably my first addiction.”
Greg Yancer–whose friends call Buddy– never really knew how to express his emotions.
“Never really felt like I added up or that I deserved anything, and I was molested by an uncle. And my world, just kind of went crazy for the next two years.”
Buddy admits, “And then I was 12 and I was introduced to cocaine and Peach tree schnapps and some meth, and my world changed. It instantly took all those feelings away, and it just kind of spiraled from there. I finally felt like I fit in. So it just drugs became a daily part of my life.”
But just when he thought his world was flipped upside down,
Life added a baby to the mix, at 17.
“I was a train wreck. And I tried for three years to like keep it under control. But behind closed doors, I was mean.”
So mean that he didn’t even recognize himself.
He says, “I just couldn’t control myself. There was so much turmoil going on. It shaped my day to day.”
Buddy had a lot of baggage he was holding onto,
With every intention of unloading it at any moment…
“It was a suicide mission. Every single day…no matter what I do, I won’t die…And I got six kids, so they all lived through it.”
To Buddy, drugs saved his life.
Yancer says, “Drugs gave me a little bit of relief. In between suicide attempts, I could find a little bit of relief, a little bit of escape for myself.”
Unfortunately, it was really the beginning of the end…
“I’m not sure I was ready to be done quite yet. I mean, I wanted to be. I wanted to be, but I wasn’t ready, you know, I didn’t see a way out. I had never heard the word recovery.”
After 43 arrests by the time he was 35, and a number of failed suicide attempts, Buddy was sent to prison.
Buddy describes, “I’m walking around D-pod thinking about hanging myself and this kid walks up to me and he’s like, hey, you, you look like you want to die. And I was like, you have no idea. And he said, come to this meeting. I went to my first NA meeting.”
And in that meeting, he could relate to someone else’s hell…
“He started talking about what it feels like to do drugs in a room by yourself, when no one else is around. And if you’ve never been there, you can’t… It kills me that I didn’t know. It kills me, that I didn’t know that there was a way out. It kills me that people don’t know that. So that’s what I was like. That’s not going to happen. I’m going to change that,” says Yancer.
So in response, he started ‘Skills for Tomorrow.’
“We’re going to change the workforce. Felonies don’t matter.”
A remodeling company that is a safe and positive workplace for those that have gone through similar hardships.
Employing 63 people.
He states, “Because we’re good workers. And we have something to offer. We just need to be put in the right spot. We do our best to offer classes, and help, and a family.”
Buddy started the business with his pal Nicholas Hale, a close friend that found a light on his own dark path.
“I didn’t know there was this level of help. I don’t see any other way of life, other than being sober. I didn’t have hope like that,” says Hale.
Buddy proudly says, “Recovery taught now to be a dad, a real dad, like talk to your kids kinda dad. I have a cool family, I have a big family. But it’s not like my recovery family.”
One lesson that buddy had imprinted on his life was,
You are never alone. Especially when it came to his recovery family.
“Who would have thought that men would call all their men and, you know, talk about spiritual principles and healing and just all the things that it wasn’t okay to talk about. When you work the recovery process, and you start to love yourself, and you start to care about the people around you– there’s no better high,” says Yancer.
“‘You left a mark on a lot of people, what’s that feel like?’ I think I just show up.”