Education Director Denise Achee: Hi! Wow I didn’t expect to see you. I was so upset that I didn’t get to say goodbye when you left and I know that you did have a death in your family and you had to take off on Saturday, which was a couple day earlier. Thank you for coming back to say goodbye to all of us. Tell me, what brought you to Inspirations [teen rehab]?
Kevin M: What really brought me here was my arrest. You know, it was about two weeks before I came here. I was on Xanax and I mixed it with some alcohol and me and a few of my friends broke into some abandoned houses. We vandalized them. So I ended up getting arrested and charged with two felonies and at that point, that’s when I really knew I had a drug problem. So I came to my parents, like you know in the mix of everything, going to court and dealing with all the lawyers and everything and I told them, you know, I need help. I can’t do this on my own. And I told them like; I’d like to go to rehab but just not an in-patient facility. You know, I could do out-patient but I really can’t be away from home and my life. So you know they talked for a little while. They discussed things with my lawyer and then they came to me and said, “We’re going to send you to Inspirations in Fort Lauderdale.” So, I really didn’t know what to expect at that point. You know, everything that the media… how they portray rehab…so I was a little nervous. So…
DA: What was your first impression?
KM: My first impression. You know I came in here and I was really nervous but I had an open mind. The people seemed really nice. I walked in and I believe it was time for school when I got here so I walked into class and everyone is asking me questions and introducing themselves and I’m just thinking like, this doesn’t seem like a bad place. These kids seem alright.
DA: A lot of them seemed and acted just like you, right? [Laughs] Drug addiction can happen to any normal kid, right?
DA: You get stuck in the trap of addiction and it will take you down that hole. Let me ask you, what had happened to your education while you were using.
KM: Well my grades really fell off. I had always been a good student before I started using, you know, like honor roll, stuff like that, straight As. Before I came here, before I got arrested actually my dad had just signed me out of school because my grades were so bad. He decided to put me in Florida Virtual [online schooling] so I could expunge those grades. Yeah, you know, that was pretty sad that I had things get that bad, that I had to be withdrawn from school.
DA: Now at that point if somebody said, “Why can’t you just say no?” Do you think you could have just said no, at that point?
KM: Probably not, you know, I was in pretty deep.
DA: Because I think a lot of parents wish that their kids were strong enough to just say no to drugs, but it gets to a point where it catches you, correct?
KM: Yeah it’s really a lot more than just saying no. You get caught up in it and then it’s something you physically need every day. You can’t just say no. You start getting sick and you start having withdrawal symptoms.
DA: Can you share with us what substances you were using?
KM: I was using daily, I was using Xanax and marijuana and then on the weekends when I go out with my friends I was a heavy drinker and I’d use molly and cocaine. I’d go to raves frequently, it was pretty much anything I could find, you know? I tried to stay away from IV drugs; you know I never really wanted to get into that. But yeah I did a lot of party drugs.
DA: Now we know that you also have a very serious condition as well, correct?
KM: Correct, I’m a Type 1 Diabetic.
DA: So for you, you could die easily.
KM: Absolutely. Like at the drop of the hat, especially mixing alcohol with such hard substances like that. It’s like playing Russian roulette. I could die at any second. I’m very fortunate to be sitting here today. You know, because the night that I was arrested I mixed like three Xanax bars with like half a bottle of alcohol and with my condition, that’s… I don’t even know how I’m sitting here today, honestly.
DA: Well you look absolutely fabulous and I can remember when you first came in and I remember it’s always scary for someone in the beginning, right, when you first get in here and I remember meeting your family at the family workshop. How was that for you to see your family after being in treatment for…it had probably been a couple weeks since you had seen them?
KM: Yeah, it was hard. I heard that weekend that my family would be coming and I told Ms. Caron you know I don’t think I want to see them because they’ll only distract me from my treatment. She told my family and after thinking about it over night, you know, I told her you know I’d like to go. So I went and it was like me and ten other guys from here and of course my family was the only family that showed up so the whole meeting was focused on me, you know, they had my mom, my step-mother, and my two sisters and they pretty much just laid everything out on the table, you know, everything. How I affected them with my use.
DA: How did that feel?
KM: It was really upsetting, you know? To know that I had caused them that much pain and put them through that. I resented myself for a while for what I had done to them. But you know, it made me a stronger person, you know, we’ve worked things out and our relationship has never been better.
DA: That’s wonderful because you have a wonderful family. It was great you had your step-mom there, you had your mom there, you had your dad there, and you had your sisters. They had been very broken by your disease and they were concerned about you for a long time.
DA: So, to see your mother’s face today was just delightful. I mean she’s just beaming and you look fabulous as well.
KM: Thank you.
DA: I know we got you back on track with the Florida Virtual [online schooling]. Also I know that you were diagnosed with ADHD as a child, here you weren’t on any medication. After a month or so they put you on Wellbutrin and we saw a big difference. You started showing much more of a result education-wise and it did help you. So you don’t feel like your ADHD but you feel like you’re ADD.
KM: Yeah I definitely have the attention deficit. I can’t really focus.
DA: Now your brain, think about your brain when you were using and think about it now. How does it feel different?
KM: I can think a lot more clearly now. There’s more thoughts running through my head then just, where am I gonna get my next fix? How am I going to get high? I don’t have any money. You know, I can actually process things, you know. I got all my emotions back. When I was using I had no emotion whatsoever. It feels really good, you know? You just feel a lot more level-headed and clear-headed.
DA: Now I know you really enjoyed going to raves and that was a place where you used or you would take a lot of drugs to go to a rave.
KM: Yeah absolutely.
DA: Would you be able to go to a rave today? Or would that trigger your substance abuse?
KM: That would definitely trigger my abuse, you know.
DA: Do you think it will happen with time that you will be able to go to a rave and be able to dance and have fun without using?
KM: I hope so, you know it’s something that I really enjoyed. Just the whole atmosphere and everything. But right now I know that it’s out of the question.
DA: What’s your plan for when you go home? What are you going to do?
KM: When I go home I’m going to finish junior year on Florida Virtual [online schooling] and then senior year I’ll be attending [high school] in Orlando.
DA: That’s exciting. So you’ll be able to walk with your class, graduate, life back on track.
KM: All that kids that I will be walking with, those are the kids I went to elementary school with.
DA: How wonderful! Well they’re going to be very proud of you because I’m sure you have some friends that didn’t use or didn’t go to the depths of using that you did. It was probably very disappointing and sad for them to see you fall through the cracks. You know, just kind of fall. Now they’re going to see you walk. Won’t that be awesome? I mean because you’re an example of hope that when somebody gets caught up in addiction, that they can get out. We’re really, really proud of you.
KM: Thank you.
DA: It was really great working with you and seeing the shift and the change. That’s been beautiful and it really makes our job worthwhile. Thank you so much.
KM: Thank you. It was my pleasure.
DA: Thanks for coming by and stop by again! You’ll have to come and speak at one of our workshops.
DA: Okay, thank you.