At 10 years old I smoked my first cigarette and at around 13 years old I started partying with friends. I drank too much, I smoked a ton of cigarettes and just as much weed. I tried other things but alcohol and weed were the drugs I chose to feel good or get away from how I really felt. Growing up is hard and I am lucky to be alive, given many of my risky behaviors. I wish I knew then what I know now.
Spending your entire life looking for the next party or partying to avoid life is no way to live. It can and it will catch up with you. If you are constantly searching, you will never see what is right in front of you.
I partied a lot, so much so that I found if I wasn't partying I was pretty miserable. Then I figured it out, if I needed something to take the edge off or something to loosen up that what I was doing was self-medicating I wanted to feel different then I felt sober because sober didn't feel good and unfortunately that is the case for many of todays kids no different than it was when I was young.
I said I was lucky, and I was; I was spared the addictive gene that traveled through my family on both sides. I was able to choose to stop any time I wanted but I always knew it could've ended very differently.
The reality is todays alcohol and drugs are different from what was out there in my partying days and it was a lot less accessible. When I drank it wasn't some brand new fancy higher volume alcohol mixed with something else, it was the simple stuff (which truth be told got me in major trouble on more than one occasion and in more than one way). When I smoked weed it came from a friends backyard, it wasn't manufactured or treated with something, to make it 'better'.
If I had access then to what kids have access to today, I too would most probably be on the list of people who are no longer with us or fighting addiction brought on by overuse of dangerous substances.
Kids are NOT capable of understanding what Hillary called, "one and done" her introduction to heroin. She said the first time can, and usually does, get you hooked. What your 'friends' that supply it for you don't tell you, is chances are pretty good that you will spend the remainder of our time chasing that first time feeling that never comes again. When you realize that it isn't coming, it is already too late and now you chase not being sick, you chase not feeling withdrawal and you chase whatever you have to just to survive.
This is what our kids need to be taught, most don't run straight to heroin but too many eventually end up there.
Just say no will not work for every kid, DARE is great but the reality is it will not work for every kid, nothing will.
sharing that with your children
makes you human.
Illicit drugs should never be okay!
Alcohol with boundaries is not only okay
but shows our kids that you can behave
responsibly with a controlled substance.
The key word there, being controlled.
as an adolescent, and I paid the price in more
ways then I will share here today.
Most adolescents will escape the throws of
addiction; however the numbers do not lie.
Young adults facing addiction fill our streets
our homeless centers, rehabs and the homes of family members.
Sadly, those numbers continue to rise.
share the cold hard facts and
by all means possible help them to see the difference
between sharing beverages with friends
and out of control partying.
Kids don't need you to be perfect;
they need you to be real.
Together we can make a difference,
we already have.