A study published by the July 2009 journal, Pediatrics, has determined that teens with a fatalistic attitude are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as adolescent drug use and fighting. It’s not surprising; as an invincible teen, it’s hard to imagine how actions in your youth will affect your life in the future. (For example, sometimes I wish I could go back and punch my teenage self for dropping classes and messing up my GPA because now I actually care about going to college.) “Live fast, die young,” is an enticing motto for teens, and the inability or unwillingness to consider future consequences makes it really hard to even want to get clean. Since I didn’t think I would live past 25, I didn’t care much about how my actions would affect my future.
In adolescent drug rehab, it was still hard to develop a strong desire to get clean, but as I stuck around, that began to change. When I realized that I could be of use to someone else, I started to want to live. After I’d been in drug treatment a few weeks, a new resident arrived and was having a lot of problems adjusting. She was extremely resistant and plotted ways to escape. I knew that I had had similar problems when I first arrived in drug treatment, and seeing how ridiculous and desperate her ideas seemed, I had a bit of clarity. I didn’t want her to go out and use, so why would I want that for myself? That little realization helped me refocus my attitude in treatment. I reached out to her and tried to offer the little bit of experience I had gained in how to stay put. I realized that even though I didn’t have years of wisdom, I knew how to stay in treatment for three weeks, and that was more than she knew. That small spark of a friendship gave me a purpose that week. As time has gone on, I have more and more purpose. There are more and more people that I have connected with. Small “esteemable” acts have helped my self worth grow tremendously. As I learned that I was worthy to others, my life began to have meaning, and a fatalistic attitude seemed pretty impractical and not at all glamorous. The article points out that teens with fatalistic attitudes are like big walking red flags for more and more trouble down the road.
If your teen is engaging in self destructive behaviors like teenage drinking and drug abuse, help exists to help stop it before it’s too late. I’m so glad I got my second chance, and I hope others will too.
Please click here if you live in Agoura Teen drug treatment.