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

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   As I entered the building I felt many emotions and my stomach was doing flip-flops. It had been a year and a half since I had seen Robert and still I loved him so much. I was nervous, scared, and happy all at once. I kept having negative thoughts. "What if he didn't graduate? Of course he would."

Before I knew it, my family, including my cousins, my aunts and uncles, and my grandparents were inside the large gymnasium where about 700 people were seated. At one end were 250 teenagers; at the other end sat their parents, friends, and relatives. In between them was a large floor.

This was a normal Wednesday night meeting at "Straight," a drug recovery program in Stoughton. But it was special for my family, because Robert, my seventeen-year-old cousin was hopefully graduating. He had completed all five phases of their program.

The meeting was called to order and there were five new people admitted to the program. They each stood up, gave their name, and admitted their problem, which ranged from diet pills to heroin addiction. Robert's problem had been alcohol and twelve kinds of drugs. He started taking drugs at nine, but now at seventeen he was straight. His problem seemed so foreign to me, I was twelve and had never seen illegal drugs.

Now what I had been waiting for all night came: Robert stood up and told his story; then the six closest people to him shared their thoughts and stories, including my grandfather who gave a great talk about becoming a man, and we all hugged and cried. I felt so important to be up there, and so happy to see Robert again.

This experience was very emotional for everyone, especially for my best friend, Sam, because his brother didn't graduate. I also learned from this; I knew I would never put my family through this pain.

Robert is twenty now and still straight, attending Suffolk University on a partial scholarship that he received for writing an essay on drugs and alcohol in a national essay contest. He is an inspiration to us all, and is making something of his life. He is not left unscarred though: his growth was stunted from the drugs, and he is only five feet eight inches tall, not six feet two inches tall, like his father. He is also an alcoholic, and can never drink or do drugs again, not even a small amount. 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.






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