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Life Nearly Taken This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Lookingback, I made many mistakes growing up. Some were harmless, some were more seriousand helped me to mature. The one that has had the biggest impact, not only on mylife but the lives of others, nearly took my life.

Two days after myfifteenth birthday some of my friends decided to take me out to "have a goodtime." I was what they called a goody-goody, I never really got in trouble.They decided to buy some alcohol. Alcohol? I was surprised, but so worried aboutwhat others thought that I agreed, even though my instincts and heart saidNo!

I'd always listened to my parents, teachers and the media explain howalcohol and drugs are bad for you. I knew the consequences, but I wanted to belike everyone else and fit in. So, I took my first drink. I drank almost half abottle of vodka and by then it was like water to me. I could not feel it burn myinsides, or even taste it. I felt so weird. It was a feeling I had never hadbefore. I drank half a bottle of gin straight. By then I was so messed up I couldnot even say my own name.

We hung out for a while and then decided tohead back to base (housing for military personnel). I remember trying to climbover a back gate; everyone made it over except me. One of my friends stayed withme and we walked around the long way to the main gate. I could not walk straightand my body was very weak.

Searching for our friends, I fell in severalditches and down hills, causing bruises and scratches. I passed out a few times,but each time managed to get back up and continue walking. I remember my friendgetting mad because I could not walk straight, or talk without stuttering. Icollapsed and became unconscious. I did not get up that time. My friend startedyelling for someone to call 911.

When the paramedics arrived, they rushedme to the hospital. On the way I had three seizures, lost consciousness and fellinto a coma. I was told my skin was pale and cold. The doctors said there was achance I'd die, or have brain damage.

When I woke, I was in the hospitalwith tubes in my nose and mouth, an IV in my arm, and a neck brace. I rememberslowly opening my eyes and not knowing where I was. Everything was quiet and Icould not move. I looked beside me; one of my close friends was crying andtelling me how sorry she was, and how all of this was her fault. I rememberputting my hand on top of hers and telling her everything was going to beokay.

The doctors pumped my stomach but I still had a lot of alcohol in mysystem. They said I was worse than most Marines who come in with alcoholpoisoning. If it were not for the little bit of rice I had eaten that morning, orif I had drank just a little more, I probably would not be here today.

While the doctors were speaking to me, my parents came in and it feltlike the world had ended. All they did was cry and tell me how much they loved meand how blessed I was to be alive. I saw so much hurt and disappointment in theireyes.

I left the hospital as soon as I was stable. My sister waswaiting in the living room not knowing what was going on. I went straightupstairs and my mom helped wash the vomit from my hair. I went to bed. For threedays I had uncontrollable regurgitating and severe headaches, but this wasn'tover yet.

I was a minor with alcohol poisoning, and because of that, I hadto go to the base inspector and tell him what had happened and who was involved.It was my first offense, so they gave me 21 hours of community service, 30 daysof house arrest, and I had to write a letter to the headquarters explaining whatI had learned. The letter was later published in the newspaper.

I am morethan blessed to be alive right now. I quickly realized that the people I called"friends" were not my friends at all. True friends do not let theirfriends drink or put their lives in danger. I should have been stronger mentallyand had enough respect for myself to say no, but I did not, and I cannot changewhat happened. All I can do is learn from it. Instead of making me look cool, itmade me seem immature and irresponsible. I lost the respect and trust of myparents and peers. I hurt so many people with that one mistake. I cannotemphasize enough how alcohol is a dead end and destructive.

Thereis no use trying to be someone you're not. You can be cool and have a good timewithout doing something to endanger your life. Life is too short as it is. Loveyourself and know that, for every one of your mistakes, there are consequences.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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