Evan This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
   My brother is a drug addict. For many years his life was off track. Afterdropping out of high school during his sophomore year, he declined precipitously, morally, physically, and spiritually. In addition to his other problems,ambition seemed to elude him; he stopped believing in himself.

It was notuntil Evan hit bottom that he was able to begin collecting the pieces of hislife. Two years ago he voluntarily entered a drug rehabilitation program andsince then has strived to reassemble his life. He has attended NarcoticsAnonymous meetings on a regular basis and has even earned his high schooldiploma. Evan has reawakened to many of the goals he had set for himself beforehe was alienated and nearly killed by his addiction.

Since my brother hascome out of rehabilitation, I have developed a particularly close relationshipwith him. I have always loved him, and we have always been good friends, but Inow also have an ever-deepening respect for him.

Evan is wiser than mostpeople I know. His brand of wisdom does not come from sitting in class. Mybrother is appreciative of life and perceives many things most people would takefor granted or not see at all. Today, Evan has a growing sense of self worth andis proud of himself every day he stays clean.

Yet it bothered Evan that hehad been out of the mainstream for so long. His former classmates were nowupperclassmen in college. My applying to college only exacerbated the situation.Although he had graduated from high school while in rehabilitation, he had goneno further. Evan confided that although he had done a good deal to get his lifeon track, accomplishing many things he had formerly never believed possible, hedesperately wanted to further his education. I suggested he enroll in a localcommunity college and begin slowly by taking a few courses to see how he wouldfare.

Evan still expressed fear , and embarrassment. As a recoveringaddict, my brother often questioned his sense of self worth. He feared failure.He had relapsed three days short of staying clean for one year the first time hecame out of rehabilitation and did not want the same thing to happen with hiseducation. Evan did not want to have to climb out of that hole again, especiallyafter having remained in it for so long. He also feared what other people mightthink. For the better part of his life he had attended private schools, and manyof his peers were now entering their third year at prestigious colleges anduniversities. How would they react if they knew he was entering his first year ata community college?

Although I tried to reassure him, Evan remainedskeptical and apprehensive. But, as far as I was concerned, he had gained moreeducation through experience than his former friends would ever receive at their"big name" universities. I spent a great deal of time with Evan, justbeing his friend. He started trusting me, confiding in me and relying more on mycounsel. I explained to him how so few people had ever experienced thedegradation, fears, and soul splitting loneliness he had. And I quickly followedwith an honest appraisal of the introspective wisdom he had gained by sinking tothe bottom and then lifting himself up toward recovery. He had accomplished somuch , if only he could see and accept that success does not necessarily comefrom schools with ivy growing on their walls; rather, it derives from how aperson meets challenges and approaches opportunities. Evan's quality of educationfar exceeded that of many of his or my peers.

I spent countless hourstalking to Evan. His sense of self-esteem had fallen so low over the preceding yearsthat he sometimes still has difficulty recognizing what he has accomplished. I,however, remained truly impressed, and told him so.

Evan enrolled in threecourses this fall. I would like to believe, and sincerely hope, that I have hadsomething to do with his decision. n


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






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback