Last year I was assigned to a program for two weeks after drinking at a school event. It was a mistake I regret deeply and I can say that I learned a lot from my ensuing punishment. Although I wish it had never happened, I must admit that I’d much prefer to learn now that crime doesn’t pay than to wait until I’m not surrounded by family and a caring school staff.
It was my first time to wade into the depths of alcohol, and I’ve vowed to remain on the dry beach of life after I naively gulped that falsely enticing liquid. However, I’ve learned that mistakes can be positive if we learn from them. During my two weeks out of school, my mother made me read a book on the evidence of God’s existence. Even though I already believed in God, she wanted to make certain that I would never forget that there is a higher power than even school officials and family to whom I must answer.
If I had not been caught, I might have continued drinking and succumbing to peer pressure. To the contrary, my suspension from school and punishment by my family placed a barrier on that rocky road, and I did an immediate U-turn back to an alcohol-free life. I’m very grateful for that; I learned early that I have nothing to gain from drinking, but I have a lot to lose.
I have no doubt that my punishment stands as an example to many and I’m grateful for that. A misstep can be transformed into a beautiful dance if we glean the wisdom that will keep us from tripping again. I know from experience that it’s usually the feet of our peers that keep trying to trip us in our walk here on Earth.
I could try to explain away my actions last year but all I wish to express is that I was wrong to drink. I need to learn to take a firm stand. Furthermore, I cannot turn a blind eye to my friends who drink. I hope to draw upon my experience to help them see the folly of drinking. A genuine person will always stand out from the crowd, and that person should not stand out because she or he is intoxicated.
So, I am grateful for learning one of the principle laws of life early: alcohol and our bloodstream are an explosive combination! I was punished for my mistake, and now I am leaving that incident in the past. Still, I must always remember it, for “those who don’t remember the past are destined to repeat it.”
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.