First I started smoking cigarettes at the age 12 when I was attending Middle School in Miami, FL. Then when I turned 14 I started using marijuana. Soon I got into alcohol. If you have not lived in Miami you have no idea how drugs are easy to find and how many parties you can go to and have access to drugs and alcohol, specially in the Hialeah area where I was living.

My first joint cost only three dollars. That was my “free sample” , but I didn’t know better. I just found out later that, that is how the dealers get you. That was my “free sample”, and I was hooked. The locker room in the school gym was where I used to get marijuana. It started like a little game, and I thought I was in control of that game, but things started to go really bad. I started to get Ds, and Fs, when I was a straight A student. I could not sleep at night, and I was anxious all the time, always wondering when I was going to get more, and more and more. I was no longer eating lunch in school and I was using all my allowance to get high. At this time my parents were so busy with their work and preparing for yet another move (the forth one since I was born and which I was not aware of), that they totally missed out on my erratic behavior. I was always a good student and I was always home right after school so they never bothered to check.

When I was close to turn 15 before the school year ended my parents moved to Orlando, FL. It was then that things really got messed up. I felt alone in the new high school and for about 2 months I was wondering around like crazy trying to find someone that could get me marijuana and or alcohol. Some kid told the guidance counselor in school about me asking her about drugs and this was the first time I got busted. My parents were informed that I was asking different kids in school if the new anyone that had drugs. At this time I spent two weeks at home and my parents were trying to figure out what went wrong and what they were going to do with me. My parents did not know anyone in Orlando and it took them a week to just find some counselor to take me to. So for a week my mom had to stay with me at home, because she was afraid of what could happen to me. I then started to see a local Orlando counselor on a daily basis for like three weeks, which I can tell you right now did not do me any good. As I went back to school, I was know “famous”, everyone knew why I had stayed home for, which kind of worked out good for me. Now the people that could provide me with drugs knew who I was. From this point on my drug use really did progress rapidly. Soon I found out that Orlando was not much different than Miami. I could get drugs in school there like I got in Hialeah. I found some friends that introduced me to a world of things that took me away from reality, took me away from my parents, took me away from the world. I was now snorting heroin and whatever other things my friends would provide me. My drug use was at that point out of control and I no longer could control my use to only the after school period, when both of my parents were not at work.

How did I end up in rehab…

I thought my parents came home for quite a few times and did not find me home, but later I found out that I came home one day with several other “friends” and the neighbors told my parents all they saw happening in the backyard (which to this day I do not know what it was). Whatever it was it was enough for me to get what is called an intervention. As I come home from one of my binge drinking my parents were waiting for me with this big man, which today I call him “my angel” – my interventionist. He along with my parents saved my life. I don’t remember much, but my parents said I had to get detox treatment after that I was transferred to a drug rehab just for teens. When I finally came to my sense I realize that I was back in South Florida, now in Fort Lauderdale. I was also surprised to see so many boys and girls my age at this treatment facility. I was there for I think, about three months. My parents would sometimes come to see me on the weekends, but for awhile I did not miss them or home. I was really lost and it was at the treatment center that I really got know myself and set goals for my life.

As I think back it is interesting to note that during my therapy sessions all teens I met, said the same thing – they all believed that peer pressure – influence of other kids in school or friends in their neighborhood along with curiosity was what little by little turned them into addicts. I thought that way too I AM TELLING YOU. IF YOU ARE A TEEN, DON’T DO IT. IT IS NOT WORTH IT. IT IS NOT EASY TO STOP. IT IS NOT EASY TO GET OUT OF IT. AND MY POOR PARENTS HAD TO GO THROUGH SO MUCH.

As I opened up to my therapist I told him that for me I think it was more that peer pressure. I was really lost during those middle school years and wanting to belong and be loved in school. Moving all the time did not give me a chance to make friends, but like my peers at the treatment center, I agree, the friends I made at the middle school I was attending had the greatest influence on my bad decisions. I guess I was searching for some kind of magic combination that would be the solution to my problem, which at that point I didn’t even know what it was. I guess I was like a chameleon, trying to find my place in every school I have attended, I was bored because I didn’t have what I wanted, actually I didn’t know what I wanted and I still had to deal with my emotions and my problems.

All that is past now, I have been sober and clean for two years now, I am attending UF as I am writing this. I came across this website and read all the testimonials people have left and I am leaving mine here in the hopes that this will make a difference to someone, somewhere.

If you are a teen and you are reading my story I hope you won’t have to use drugs or alcohol to be cool. BE YOURSELF.THAT IS COOL ENOUGH. AND ALWAYS REMEMBER REAL FRIENDS WON’T ASK YOU TO DRUGS OR DRINK ALCOHOL.