During the Keys to Success program the students had to compose a story about a teenager who rebelled against his/her family, peers or society. The story could be true or completely fictional. The following is a true story by Pam written about one segment of her life.
“One day I started to hang out with this other girl named Sarah. Before I met Sarah I was what you would call a good kid. Sarah was like a black hole. Sarah sucked me in and did not spit me out. In this black hole, I got involved with everything I was against (drugs, alcohol, and stealing). It got so bad that I got caught, convicted of shoplifting and was sent to the court system.
At first I was very angry because I got caught. I was angry at my parents and the court system for not letting me see Sarah or live on the edge anymore. I rebelled, snuck out, and saw all my old friends; however, not without getting caught. By my actions, I was just digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole but I didn’t care.
I was angry, but for all the wrong reasons and at all the wrong people. I didn’t want to see the light at the end of the tunnel or give up my life with Sarah. But I started to get help and got serious about receiving help. I started going to the Keys to Success program and learned a lot of life lessons. I took a step in towards redirecting my life. Now am I able to keep up with my new found respect? That part of the story hasn’t been written yet.”
This story is fascinating because Pam chose to do a self-examination. Pam is typical of many teenagers who have been sucked into doing drugs because of a friend. As you read Pam’s story you can feel how important Sarah was as a friend. Pam was blessed by the fact she was caught before her behavior got out of control. Pam acknowledges the fact that she was angry against those who were trying to encourage her to change her life style.
Pam made a remarkable change by admitting she was angry with the wrong people. It was Pam’s decision to rebel against her family. She finally took full responsibility for her actions after attending the Keys to Success program. A teen’s behavior will not improve until the teen admits responsibility for their negative behavior.
Advice for Teens
Teens, you must not throw your life away by indulging into alcohol and drugs. It might make you feel good at the moment, but your problems will not go away. Your problems are in your heart. Like Pam, the more you consume alcohol and drugs, the more you dig yourself deeper and deeper into a hole. Sometimes, the hole will become so deep that hopelessness will take over.
Do not hesitate to get the assistance you need if you have a substance abuse problem. Do not be afraid to talk about your problem to your parents or to someone who will listen. You can only hide your condition for so long. Just like Pam, one day you will get caught! Your parents will be very angry and hurt. However, you made the wrong choice and you must live with the consequences. You must deal with your substance abuse problem now before it becomes too painful for you and your parents. Here are several reasons not to use drugs and alcohol. The list is not all inclusive:
- You could become addicted to drugs and alcohol.
- Guilt will control you because you are hiding your problems from your family.
- You will disrespect yourself and others.
- You will misuse your money and potentially start stealing from the very people you love.
- You become more at risk for cancer, liver damage and other diseases.
- You will destroy your relationship with family and friends.
- You could potentially lose your life or destroy someone else’s life.
- You could potentially drop out of school.
- You could lose your freedom and end up in a juvenile facility, or jail, or prison
- You could kill someone when driving your vehicle while intoxicated.
Do not give into peer pressure that will influence you to make wrong choices. Learn from Pam’s story. You must be very careful about who you hangout out with and the friends you choose. When you are in severe trouble, a good friend will not abandon you. A true friend or peer will speak the truth when you are engaged in negative behavior.
Advice for Parents
Parents, if your teen informs you of a substance abuse problem, even though your feelings and emotions are about to explode, do not over react. Put you loving arms around your teen and do the following:
- Give your teen thanks for confiding in you.
- Tell your teen how much you love him or her and allow your empathy to prevail.
- Let your teen know you want them to obtain treatment right away.
- Ask your teen how long he or she has been taking drugs.
- Stand by your teen with absolute tough love.
Parents, it’s natural to think about the embarrassment your teen has caused you as a family. The recovery process will not be easy, but it will be quicker if you do not attack your teen’s character. At the same time it must be abundantly clear that your teen knows you dislike their behavior but love them.
Love your teen with open arms. Do not blame yourself. Remember your teen is responsible for their behavior and the choices they made. However, if you have contributed to your teen’s negative behavior, you will need to change your approach to improve the relationship. You must believe you have the power to make a difference in your teen’s life.
Written by Mr. Wisdom
(c) 2010 EnviCare Consulting, Inc.