Starting Over: All grown up

When I was about twelve years old, I wanted to be an adult. My parents were occupied with family problems and instead of expressing how I felt left out, I wanted to show I was grown up. I correlated smoking cigarettes and drinking to being grown. I started smoking cigarettes. I would tell my mom I was going for a walk but instead I would sneak on the side of the buildings and smoke cigarettes. 

About a year later, I started drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. The first time I drank alcohol, I stole a bottle of vodka from my parent's liquor cabinet. Shortly after that, I started doing other drugs like ecstasy and tranquilizers. I started to do things I said I would never do. Because drinking alcohol and doing drugs, I started to lower my standards by putting myself in compromising situations. By sixteen years old I was drinking bottles of alcohol and blacking out more times than I could count. I was turning into someone I said I would never be: a cheater, liar, stealer, and manipulator. At a time of desperation, realizing I was going down a path I did not want to, I tried to commit suicide. I felt lonely because I was ashamed and embarrassed by my actions.


By eighteen years old, my friends felt they had to "babysit" me and would tell other classmates to watch after me at parties because I was an alcoholic. This only got me angry and left me feeling more alone. I started compromising my purity with men, in attempts to feel wanted. The further I compromised my standards, the more alone I felt. 

By twenty-two years old, I started to feel tired of my addictions. I was sick of waking up not knowing what happened the night before. I could tell by my friend's faces, if I did anything embarrassing. I felt stuck. I did not know how to live any other way, because this is the life I chose for myself. I barely graduated from college, and did not know what to do after college. After choosing to do a volunteer program, I started questioning my actions and the direction my life was heading. 

After much prayer and searching for faith, I began to see that life has more to offer, and that this is not the life I wanted to live. I started a spiritual chemical recovery program and began to see how my choices led to many consequences and pain. It was hard to overcome the guilt that accompanied my addictions, yet through faith and perseverance I have been able to stop being sexually active, stop using drugs and alcohol and focus on making decisions that are more meaningful. 

I decided to go back to school, to be a drug and alcohol counselor and help families that battle with drug and alcohol abuse. I had to work extra hard to show I was dedicated, especially with my low grades from before. Today, I have been 3 years sober and just finished my first semester with straight A's! I still battle with temptations to be sexually active and use drugs and alcohol. I make daily decisions to focus on my new life with hope and faith, not looking back on my old life full of guilt and despair.

 

DID YOU KNOW...
Approximately 20% of sexually active teens acquire a new STD every year.