For­mer BMX pro shares story of re­cov­ery

Cecil Whig - - FRONT PAGE - By JES­SICA IANNETTA jian­netta@ce­cil­whig.com

PERRYVILLE — As a se­nior in high school, Tony Hoff­man was one of the top BMX am­a­teur rac­ers in the coun­try and was slated to ap­pear on the cover of the na­tion’s lead­ing BMX mag­a­zine.

Three years later, at age 21, Hoff­man found him­self in court fac­ing 17 and a half years in prison af­ter com­mit­ting an armed rob­bery to sup­port his ad­dic­tion to pre­scrip­tion pills. De­spite what seems like a dra­matic fall from grace, Hoff­man de­scribes his jour­ney as a se- ries of small de­ci­sions that ul­ti­mately set him on the wrong path: A bad at­ti­tude and strug­gles with anx­i­ety in mid­dle school. Start­ing to smoke weed and drink in high school. And even­tu­ally, the de­ci­sion to start us­ing pre­scrip­tion pills.

With­out know­ing it, Hoff­man had walked through “the door.” Most peo­ple aren’t even aware the door ex­ists, but once you walk through it there’s no go­ing back, Hoff­man told stu­dents at Perryville Mid­dle School on Tues­day.

“When you walk through the door, you don’t get to choose whether you’ll be me or not. See there’s a lot of peo­ple that think ad­dic­tion is a choice,” Hoff­man told the stu­dents. “But let me tell you some­thing: I didn’t choose to hold this mi­cro­phone and my 11 friends that left in a cas­ket, they didn’t choose to die from drug ad­dic­tion. You find out af­ter you walk through the door and it’s not a choice you get to make.”

Hoff­man’s talk at Perryville Mid­dle was one of sev­eral talks he will give

See BMX Page A9

CE­CIL WHIG PHOTO BY JES­SICA IANNETTA

Tony Hoff­man calls on a stu­dent dur­ing a talk at Perryville Mid­dle School on Tues­day.

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