I was molested when I was only 5 years old. Shortly afterwards, my parents divorced. My family completely split apart and I was pretty much outcast from my dad's family. It crushed me to have my family torn apart because of something that happened to me. I was never the same person after that. It totally changed my whole world.
My childhood was very dark and lonely. I was the black sheep and I didn't feel that I fit in. My father was an alcoholic and verbally abusive. I never thought I'd amount to anything. I didn't receive a lot of encouragement from my family and I felt depressed and alone. At school, I was made fun of and looked down upon. Because of that, I would isolate myself.
My parents were always working, so I was left alone a lot. When I started drinking alcohol at 13, it was a normal thing to me. I thought everybody drank alcohol. My parents drank quite frequently and there would always be alcohol. I didn't have friends and I didn't go and hang out with people. So, I actually started drinking alone in the house. Then it became a social thing and a way to have friends by drinking at parties.
I had a boyfriend for a couple of years and I knew he was involved with marijuana. In the beginning, my friends use to call me the Weed Nazi, because I wouldn't let them smoke around me. At first, I told my boyfriend, "If you smoke, I won't kiss you."
One day his friend came over with marijuana. I told myself, "I'm gonna show him how much I love him and I'll let him smoke outside." I was in a weird mood that day and when he came back inside I said, "Oh, I'm gonna try it."
After that, I started smoking marijuana. I was hiding from my past, things that happened in my childhood, the way I had been treated and how I was feeling. It made everything go away, but it was a fake peace. When I was no longer high, reality would set in.
At first, I was firmly against smoking marijuana. I thought, "I'm never gonna smoke weed" and one day I did. After that, I told myself "Well, I'm not gonna do meth and look like those people getting high." Eventually I did do meth as well as coke, ecstasy and 'shrooms. Each step just led me a little bit further to places I never thought I would to go. Once you get high, you begin searching for something that's a little more exciting, something that will keep you high because you become depressed.
The first time I tried meth it was gonna be a one time thing, but it is very addicting. It makes you feel like you can do anything and you are somebody. You can stay up for days and you feel really, really good. Then you come down hard and you're worse off then when you began. It destroys your body and mind. To be able to feel normal without crashing, you need to get high again.
I financed my drug use by hanging out with drug dealers and stealing. We would go out at night and steal from homes or break into cars. We would trade stolen cars for drugs. I would also hang out with people who had drugs.
As a girl, guys want to get you high to take advantage of you. You lose all your self-worth and self-control. I became very promiscuous. Drugs totally pollute your mind.
When you're doing drugs you feel like you're on top. You think, "Oh, everybody likes me at the party and everybody thinks I do this and this good." When you come down, you're trashed. You sound funny, you act funny and you're not the life of the party anymore. You eventually lose everything because of drugs: your friends, family and possessions.
If I could go back and change anything, I would change taking that first hit off a joint. Once you compromise, you lose who you are and your standards. If you go back on where you stand just one time, it's so much easier to do it again and again. There is no longer a line that is drawn.
If you're out there and you see your friends partying or drinking, don't feel like a loser for not doing what they do. You need to be secure in yourself and be proud of who you are. Have values and morals, stand up for what you think is right and don't follow the crowd. Stay strong in what you believe and set goals for yourself. Drugs will not fulfill you or get you anywhere.
The turning point for me was going to jail and realizing how out of control my drug use was. I was running from the cops and helicopters were outside of my friend's house, because we had stolen some vehicles. I never envisioned myself going to jail. I'd never been in trouble before, but this time I had two felony counts against me. A couple of days later, I got officially released from jail and I ended up applying for Teen Challenge.
I've had tremendous opportunities since I've been in Teen Challenge. As soon as I got here, I felt welcomed. I especially felt love from the students, the staff. They've done drugs and been through Teen Challenge. They know where you're coming from and they care. It's not just a program that they walk you through and then you leave. They want you to be successful.
Teen Challenge has given me life. I'm now able to love, to feel, to go through things, even feelings of anger or frustration without getting high. To me, Teen Challenge is a new life and a new hope. I've gone from total self-destruction to trying to bring life to other people by helping them get out of the dark pit that we tend to get ourselves into.