New research indicated that young people who drink before the age of 16 are much more likely to suffer from alcohol related problems as adults. Teens who drink are more than twice as likely to develop a dependence on alcohol than teens who wait until age 21 to drink. Teens who drink are more likely to drive drunk as well. Again, all of these findings make me grateful for the help I got as a teen through adolescent Drug Treatment in San Diego. I don’t know what my life would have been like if I’d continued on my destructive path. I don’t know if I’d even be alive today.
Addiction tends to be a progressive disease, but it is possible to arrest its progress and find a new way to live. At least where I went to high school, lots of kids were drinking. I don’t know why my drinking became such a problem and other kids managed to make it out of high school without being sent to rehab. I have seen several of them turn to harder drugs, get DUI’s, drop out of college, or die. Some of them seem pretty fine, but their whole existence focuses around what bar they went to last night, and where they’re going tonight. That’s fine for them, but I am so glad that my life is bigger than that. Because I am in recovery, I have gotten a chance to help other people that are in the situation I used to be in, and that is extremely gratifying.
When I was drinking, I was constantly “not feeling good” due to hangovers and physical dependence. Liquor slowly disappeared from my parent’s supply. I think for awhile they thought they were hallucinating its disappearance. I was a straight-A honors student, so who would suspect me? (When my grades dropped significantly…that was a sign.) I rarely spent the night at my house. I chose to sleep over with friends whose parents weren’t as alert as mine. I got a fake ID. I always chewed gum (to mask the smell- or so I thought) and was very protective of my backpack and closet (where I hid things). I think my parents didn’t want to see what was right in front of them. Who would? No one wants to think their kid is an out of control alcoholic. When I went to treatment it was a relief to everyone. While I was there, I was safe from doing further harm to myself and my family, and began the long and slow process of getting better. My life today seems a million miles away from the life I had when I walked into treatment. I am so glad I got the chance to do something different.
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