JI: Originally I came in, you know, my parents had just had enough. They were tired. They were just done; they were fed up with me, you know, and my lifestyle that I was living with drug addiction. I was always lying to them, always stealing. Not from them, but just in general. They knew I was stealing. They had threatened to send me to rehab before, but you know that was just the last place on earth that I was trying to be.
DA: Did you have an intervention or did you coming willingly?
JI: I came willingly. I mean I didn’t have much choice. I was still kind of on drugs whenever I came in.
DA: Did you have any court problems?
JI: No, no legal problems. It was just family.
DA: Alright. Now since you’ve been here…you’ve been here how many days?
JI: 38 [days].
DA: 38 days. How do you feel now?
JI: I feel like a completely different person, you know? I feel like I came in, you know, broken with no direction. I wasn’t going anywhere. I was going down a path that nobody could have told me… nobody could have said that that path I was going down was going to end me up anywhere good. Now that I’ve gone through Inspirations, not even Inspirations, but you know, just the treatment here and what it has led me to discover about myself. I feel like a brand new person.
DA: Let me ask you, what happened to your education when you were using?
JI: I never really had bad grades, but before, I did. I would just get lazy and wouldn’t want to do my work even though I knew I had to do it, but I never did it because I didn’t care.
DA: What happened with your education when you came to Inspirations?
JI: I began to take more of an interest in learning and doing my school work. You know, figuring out that it’s actually interesting. It’s not as hard as I was making it out to be with just a little bit of focus.
DA: You’ve shown in the Education Department that you’re extremely bright. You’ve been on an online program, correct?
JI: Yes. FLVS [Florida Virtual School, an online learning program].
DA: How are you doing on online [school]? How do you like online [school]? Is it your first time you’ve been on online learning?
JI: I’ve done online. I got kicked out a bunch because I was….this is actually my third time going into FLVS in particular because I would always get high and be like, I don’t want to do it. Or I’d push it off until the last second and then the last second would come and I would be like oh I’ll just wait until next week to do it, you know. I never wanted to do it but I really enjoy doing FLVS. I think it’s a lot easier than anything else. I’ve taken other online courses for economics and stuff and it was just all over the map and complicated but FLVS, you know…
DA: It’s a good program.
JI: Yeah I like FLVS.
DA: You’ve been very successful at it.
JI: Yeah. Yeah, I like it.
DA: How much were you able to complete while you were here?
JI: I got two modules done.
DA: Good for you! That’s not easy.
JI: With the help of Ms. Rosemary.
DA: She’s your math teacher?
DA: We’ve managed to give you some extra time, a little bit of extra time, in the lab so you could work but you requested that?
DA: Which is commendable.
JI: I just want to get it done so I can graduate.
DA: Now how is your relationship with your family?
JI: Now, it’s a lot better because it’s more open communication. Before, I didn’t really talk to them that much about stuff that was going on with me. They were just kind of like…I called them the ‘wardens’ almost. Anything that I wanted to do had to go through them. They just pretty much had a say in whatever I did. They weren’t really my parents, so to say. They were just there. I didn’t really think of them as… I never asked them for advice. I thought I could go through life without any guidance.
DA: Do you feel that the drugs numbed out your emotions, in a sense?
JI: Yes, absolutely.
DA: How did it feel when you started getting your emotions back? Was it scary?
JI: It was a little strange at first. Not scary but like one of the main emotions I felt was anger because there are people here that don’t take their recovery seriously. Now that I started to see how big of a problem I had and then to see, you know other people with the same problem and they want to keep going, you know. It’s confusing. It’s not confusing, but it’s angry and I want to be able to let other people that they have a problem as well and that they need to do something about it. But I can’t because it’s out of my control.
DA: Well yeah and also because it’s important that you focus on yourself and people come in in different stages of their recovery. Perhaps you see yourself in the new ones that come in when they’re being resistant, perhaps.
DA: You’re recognizing kind of who you were.
JI: What I was. Yeah.
DA: Exactly. Well you’ve done an absolutely fabulous job and we’re extremely proud of you academically and how you’ve come along emotionally and we’re wishing all the best for you when you get back. Know that we are here for you, if you need us. We look forward to hearing about your progress. When you go home, have you completed your home contract?
DA: Okay and that’s going to be put in to place when you get home?
DA: Okay. What about your old friends and people that you were using with? How are you going to not involve yourself with those people?
JI: I’ve done a lot of thinking about that and there are certain people that I cannot be around and there are other people that you know, I’ve realized they’re good influences in my life and they’re going to bring me up, because for me, my dad always told me try to be around people that are going to benefit you, not bring you down. I’ve noticed the people who are going to benefit me. I know exactly the people who are going to bring me back into the cycle. Basically when I get back it’s just going to be a matter of, you know, you are doing something that I cannot have any part of. I’m trying to take my life in a different direction and what you’re doing is just going to keep me on the same path.
DA: Let me ask you, if you were to give some suggestions to parents perhaps that were struggling with addiction, would you advice them or their child that when you get so deep into addiction that the only way is to get help.
JI: Absolutely. Absolutely, because like I said about the cycle, you know, once you get in it’s really, really hard to get out.
DA: A lot of parents will think, oh why don’t you just say no?
JI: It’s not that easy. For me, you know, a lot of people think it’s just to be cool and to fit in but after you get past that then it becomes to the point where it’s not fun anymore. You’re doing it to feed something that can never be fulfilled until you’re either dead or you’re in prison.
DA: Correct. Well thank you so much for sharing this experience with us and with others who are trying to make a decision on sending their child to rehab or somebody of your age, a peer, that’s listening to your testimonial can have a huge impact and help them make a decision that could help their lives get better. Thank you and have a safe trip. You’re off tomorrow at ten. Whoopee!
JI: You’re welcome. 10:30, but still. I’m going to have a corn and then I’m gone.
DA: Where are you from?
JI: Here, Pembroke Pines.
DA: Pembroke Pines, Florida. Alright. Well we look forward to hearing from you in the future and in a month or so to see how you’re doing. Thank you so much.
JI: No problem. Thank you!