At a young age, I saw my dad beat my mom until she was black and blue. She was in the hospital most of the time. My dad was an alcoholic and drug addict. My parents were never home and I was always home alone. So, I would never really go to school. I was getting expelled, suspended, and getting involved with the wrong kind of people.
What I needed more than anything as a kid was the love of my mother and father. My mom would come home from work grouchy and she didn't really show us love. I would go up to her for affection and she would kind of push me away and say that she was tired. I couldn't go to her for anything and my father was never around.
I didn't know who to go to when I was in trouble or when I felt like my world was falling apart. I started doing drugs and partying, but it just brought me down more and more.
I started smoking weed because the popular kids were doing it and I wanted to fit in. That led to drinking and cocaine. From there, I tried hallucinogens like mushrooms and ecstasy. I just thought that I was having fun.
Peer pressure was involved in my drug habits. In high school, all the cool kids did drugs. When I would go to parties, everybody would get drunk. Even at school, the girls would sometimes fill Gatorade bottles with vodka. I wanted to be Miss Popular. I thought that to fit in and be popular, I had to drink and do the things that they did.
I couldn't sober up when I would drink so I started using cocaine. I was drinking every day and night. I would go to sleep drunk, wake up drunk and I'd have to go to work and school. When I was using cocaine, I was hyper, awake and alert. I felt like I could do things for days.
When I did drugs, I didn't feel anymore. It numbed me and made me forget about my problems. After the high was gone, I didn't know what else to do but to go and get high again.
On the outside, I looked happy and like I had it together. I was popular in school, had a nice apartment, a good car and a job that paid $14 an hour. That was how I supported my drug habit. At first, I was spending maybe a hundred bucks a week and then it began to be more. I didn't finish my senior year of high school because of my habit.
I didn't have anybody in my life to love me and to pay attention to me in the way I needed. I was looking for it in all the wrong places. I went from guy to guy looking for someone to love me. I needed someone that I could go to and talk to about anything.
I didn't know what was missing in my life that caused me to use drugs. Now I realize that it was my parents and my faith. I was missing God.
What kids my age need most from their parents is for them to actually be there for them.
Parents need to be involved in their daughter or son's life. They need to know who they're hanging out with.
I never envisioned myself needing rehab. I didn't think I had a problem. I was only smoking weed and I didn't see weed as wrong. But weed wasn't enough and I started using cocaine. In my senior year, everything went downhill.
If I hadn't gone into rehab, who knows what other drug I would've started using other than cocaine. Sooner or later, cocaine wouldn't have fulfilled my high.
My ultimate rock bottom, my turning point, was seeing a pattern of partying every single day Monday through Sunday. If I wasn't partying, I was drinking at my apartment.
I wasn't happy. I was missing something and I was losing my fiance. I didn't have a family anymore. I couldn't show my face at my parents' house because I was ashamed of everything I had done. My grandma closed her door to me because I had stolen $3,000 from her. Nobody trusted me in their home because I would do anything to get money to get what I needed. I was losing myself. I didn't finish high school and I didn't know what to do with my life anymore.
When I lost my fiance, I really started letting go and not caring about myself. When I would drink, I would say to myself, "I want to drink and not wake up in the morning. What am I doing in my life? I haven't finished school and my parents aren't here for me anymore. What is the purpose of me being here?"
Drugs took everything from me, my self-respect, my family, everything. I went from people looking up to me and thinking I would make it to people not even wanting to be around me or trusting me in their homes.
If I could go back and do anything over again, I would go back and listen to my parents when they told me I needed to straighten out. I wouldn't have thought that they hated me and just didn't want me to have fun. I thought, "You guys don't understand. You guys aren't in our millennium. You don't know how it is; it's different now." It hurts me that I hurt my parents so much and did what I did because it wasn't worth it. I also would've finished high school.
When I hit rock bottom I called my mom crying and told her that I needed help. She wouldn't let me back inside the house because she knew the person I had become. She told me that I needed to go through the program in order to come home. I said, "Okay" because I was done.
My whole world has changed since I've been in Teen Challenge. It has been difficult to go through things. I now have to feel the hurt and realize how I hurt my parents. Everything is coming to light. I have to deal with not being numb or drunk. I can't go through life running from all my problems because they would just get worse.
I have a future now. Before coming to Teen Challenge, my self-confidence was low. I couldn't finish anything or keep a job more than six months. Now my eyes are open to so much more. I realize that I'm unique and can do anything through God.
Teen Challenge is my lifesaver. I was living a nightmare and now it's all over.