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

   I look in the mirror and am amazed by whostands before my eyes. To glance past her outward appearanceand into her soul, her depth and her character is to trulyknow why she is who she is. She knows life wouldn't be thesame if she hadn't faced trials and tribulations. But throughthem, God gave her strength to overcome her shame and shareher lesson with others. So, as I look into the mirror eachday, I take pride in what I see. My dreadful experience withdrugs caused me to re-examine my value of life, my existenceand the morals I live by.

The pressures I faced in mylife led me to indulge in drugs and caused me to re-examine myself-image. In junior high I was vice president of a studentbody with 150 students and placed on the Spiritline. Mostwould feel honored, but I thought to myself, How will I everbe a leader? The burden of life weighed upon me. As I walkedthrough crowded halls, I questioned my significance in thisworld. I searched for the easy path but found it covered inmolded footprints. I searched for acceptance, makingdestructive decisions and sacrifi-cing a rational future for athirty-minute high.

For two months the high increasedevery day, with anassortment of illegal drugs ranging frommarijauna to LSD. The exhilarating sensation left my body numbto pain both physically and emotionally. It brought amusementto the dullest situation and contentment to chaos. The highwould take me to another world, which was anywhere but realityand everywhere I wanted to be.

During first period ona November day in 1995, I was rushed to the emergency roomwith symptoms of a heart attack due to the pipe I had smokedfrom earlier that morning. Doctors swarmed around me withmile-long needles puncturing my skin. Terror swept over me andthen complete darkness. I began having convulsions and myheart gave out for 40 seconds. I came back to life and waskept breathing via an oxygen machine. I lay in remorse,thinking, What is it going to take for me to stop living foreveryone else?

I was also led to contemplate my morals,in hopes of building my character. The administrationsuspended me from school for two weeks and advised my cheercaptain and student council advisor to expel me from myextra-curricular activities. My cheer captain told me thateven though she was disappointed in my choices, she knew I wasa dedicated student. She also encouraged me to change myattitude and grades so I could tryout for the squad next year.This not only motivated me to start on a new path but also toget in contact with my student council advisor to apologizeand make amends.

I was grounded for two months fromusing the telephone and television. My house was once a placewhere I liked to be, but because I had lost my parents' trust,I wanted to escape. I felt as though I was constantlysurrounded by grimacing faces and often yearned for the soundof a friend's laughter on the phone of punch lines of myfavorite shows. I wanted to run outside and play but I wasencaged in walls of white brick, forced to think about how Ineeded to change. My older brother consoled me by saying,"You need to re-establish your morals and beliefs so youcan use your experience as a steppingstone in your life."I have always looked up to him because of how much he hasovercome.

My dreadful experience also led me todiscover the purpose of my existence. My uncle, a Baptistpastor, called me on a Saturday evening and persuaded me toattend service on Sunday. At first I was hesitant because ofthe disgrace I felt, but I knew that if if were to grow frommy experience I would have to get my strength and guidancefrom God.

When I walked into church, cracking myknuckles in hopes of easing my nerves, I was confronted withgaping stares and a few friendly smiles. But I took my seatwith dignity because I knew I was there to start over bychoosing to live a righteous life. After church my familydiscussed my intentions, which included enrolling in theafter-school program to raise my grades. I also planned to getinvolved in our church youth group so I would have peerssupporting my change in attitude and encouraging my personalgrowth. My family was glad to see I had a positive outlook onlife.

Monday I returned to the cement halls andwhite-brick buildings of school. I entered the campus knowingmy determination to improve was indomitable. My teachersgreeted me with an ingenuous "hello" and my peersoffered only silent stares and unasked questions. Sharing mylife-threatening ordeal helped me realize the purpose of myexistence - to live as an example through the content of mycharacter.

Analyzing my life, its purpose and my moralsled me to realize that drugs are not a rational solution tolife's afflictions. So, as we stumble through life seeking aneasy way to escape situations, I ask myself, "When willwe realize that we can only run so far?"

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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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 9:33 am
i love this so much!
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