Of the one-in-five young adults and teenagers who were classified as needing substance abuse treatment, 94% do not think they need help, and of the seven million young people who need help, only one in ten adolescents will actually get help. I feel fortunate to be one of few who got the opportunity to take a shot at recovery at a young age. I definitely didn’t think I needed help- I thought I was a lost cause. I couldn’t imagine a life without using drugs and alcohol.
In my experience, many teens meet teenage recovery and adolescent drug rehab with resistance. It sounds like a death sentence to many: go away from your family and friends to a strange place with strange people- and no drugs or alcohol! When I went to treatment, I felt like during the sixty days I was to be there, the world would move on without me. What I realized is that the world was passing me by as I was using, and that when I got clean, I could take the reins again and actually be a part of life. I realized that a lot of my using friends weren’t actually friends. We used each other. In treatment, I got to know other kids who struggled like me, and who wanted to change like me. There was a saying I heard a lot there, “Stick with the winners!”
Now that I’m back in the “real world,” I know that most of my peer group does not embrace the idea of adolescent recovery. Kids at school or at work wonder why I don’t want to smoke pot with them or drink with them. I spend my free time with the “winners”- my peers in recovery. I didn’t want recovery when I was using drugs in Portland because I had no idea that life without drugs and alcohol could actually feel better. I thought I was destined to be miserable. I hope that by staying clean and continuing on this path of recovery, I can be an example to other young people who might think they have a drug or alcohol problem, and that I can show them that
getting help actually helps!