Engaging young people in advocacy, education & prevention
Creating social change around alcohol, drugs, and more

Learning the Hard Way

February 11, 2016 3:50 pm Published by Comments Off on Learning the Hard Way

*This blog entry was written by a Ventura County youth in August 2015

I was about halfway through with eighth grade when most of my friends had already tried weed and experimented with drinking alcohol. I’d pretty much gone with it, if not helped lead the charge into drug use at my school and had little regrets about it. It’s what me and my friends did in our spare time or when we were out skating.

I had never experienced any of the downfalls of drug use, but when a good friend of mine got into some higher waters, I began to realize how (though weed has not negatively affected my life) weed could affect you – whether it’s on its own or by leading to other drugs.

It naturally started with an urge – the urge for a longer, stronger and all around better high. As me and my friends grew more tolerant of the affects of THC, we began to branch out to other minor drugs – maybe some salvia, adding tobacco in with our weed or by drinking a little more. When that wasn’t enough, we didn’t think to get any harder but instead to take what we call a tolerance break. A tolerance break is where you stop smoking or using tobacco so as to diminish whatever built up tolerance you may have accumulated. It could be as long as a week, a few days, or even stretch into months. It’s not going sober so much as it’s simply a cool down period (so you can get turnt next time 😉 )

But anyways, when a simple buzz or waiting for your immunity to wear off wasn’t enough… that’s when things got bad. That’s when a dear friend of mine turned to things like snorting Adderall, drinking codeine and doing “whip it’s” in order to achieve that new level of high – And that’s when he got caught.

He was caught at school with a bottle of Adderall. He was suspended, but that wasn’t the worst of it. You see, when this friend of mine was doing these things at the time, it didn’t seem all that bad to me. In fact, I wasn’t fully against any of it and wouldn’t mind joining him with some codeine from time to time. So yes, by lack of reprimanding him for irrational behavior, I encouraged it – Thus leading to his expulsion. Not expulsion from the school, but from his friends, his home – Expulsion from the state of California. This is when my good friend was sent to a rehabilitation center in Utah.

They said it was for a month, but instead they kept him there all year. He told me the first weeks were rough. He had a mild opiate addiction and was suffering from withdrawals. He told me of how many of the kids there were sent off for things like meth, suicide/depression and all around bad behavior. He didn’t belong there, I thought. He’s a good kid and he never did anything wrong. Denial… Ignorance… Call it what you might, but in the end he lost a year to that place and to those drugs.

I’m here now with him on a weeklong trip to Santa Barbara with his family. He is doing great. We have spent all week playing music, writing songs, swimming, kayaking, surfing, wake boarding, skating, and all around great stuff. He’s sober – We both are – And we have been living the life.

Tomorrow he goes back to Salt Lake City, Utah. We gather his things and head home. It’s gonna be great to have him back. He plans on staying clean for a good amount of time but he’s made no promises as far as eternity goes. I’m all right with that as long as he is sure to remember, “everything in moderation.”

And no, “EVERYTHING” DOES NOT MEAN “EVERYTHING.” Most things in moderation, more like it. And don’t use “please and thank you” in moderation. You can never show enough gratitude because in a world like this you never know how long stability is going to last – And you won’t know how fast you can lose hold of your life until you only have the memories of it to look back to.

 *Photo taken by 1cognito