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Change Is a Good Thing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     I opened my eyes and quickly looked around the unfamiliar room. I must have blinked about 30 times. What a strange dream that I couldn’t seem to wake up from. Why were these tubes connected to me? Where was I? What had happened? I soon realized that I wasn’t dreaming; this was a sick and twisted new reality. An unfamiliar lady looked at me, realizing I was confused. She said in a harsh tone, “Do you know where you are?” Then I saw my dad looking down at me with tears flowing down his face. This wasn’t the strong man I knew. The scary lady continued, “You chose to make bad decisions last night.”

* * *

Freshmen year of high school started out pretty rocky. My best friend, one of my only real friends, had moved 13 long hours away. I was not the happy kid I had once been. I tried my hardest to pretend everything was okay. My mom knew something was off, but hey, all teenagers go through a rebellious period. I met a lot of new people that year, pretty much good kids who happen to make bad choices. I did a lot of stupid things that year, tried things I shouldn’t have.

I still couldn’t let anyone know that I wasn’t okay. I wanted to grow up so badly that I’d lie, cheat, or steal to do it. I thought that growing up would somehow make me happy, or maybe stronger, but that wasn’t the case. I would cry almost every day; I hated myself. I had no self-esteem; I didn’t care what happened to me. I didn’t care about school. I constantly worried myself to tears. I fought with my family when they would try to find out what was wrong. Many nights I chose to stay home and cry in my room while my friends went out. I would punish myself because I believed I wasn’t good enough to have friends.

Finally summer came, and I was ready to party. Three days into the summer I went with my new best friend to a forest party. I didn’t know anyone there, but I didn’t care. I just wanted to drink because somewhere in my twisted mind I thought that would make me happy. I took that bottle of vodka and did my thing. The next thing I knew I woke up in a hospital bed, still intoxicated and very confused. Seeing my dad bawling above me and an unfamiliar nurse yelling at me made me realize what I had done: drunk myself unconscious.

That night, I had opened the bottle and drunk the whole thing. I drank myself stupid. I drank myself unconscious. Drank myself till I couldn’t remember a thing. Drank till the hospital didn’t know if I would wake up again. Drank to a .26 blood alcohol level.

Both my arms were bruised from my wrist to my shoulders with blood showing through. My feet had huge black and blue bruises. When the doctors tried to stick the needles into my arm for IVs, I would rip them out. They tried my feet too. I was unconscious, but I still knew someone was touching me, and I kicked the doctors and ripped everything out. The doctors had to calm me down with an anti-psychotic medication. No one, including me, knew what had happened to me that horrible night.

The next three days in the hospital were really scary. What I did to my family was inexcusable. I put them through so much agony and despair, yet my mom slept at the hospital and my dad and sister were there all the time. I had lied to their faces. I had put them through hell. I had thought only about myself, and didn’t even realize that I was hurting the people whom I cared about the most. I didn’t deserve their forgiveness, but they looked past the lies and were there for me. My family and the doctors decided that the best thing for me would be the fifth floor.

The psychiatric ward. After all that time going downhill, I had finally hit rock bottom.

I needed to change.

This change would not come easily. I had work to do, but I was committed to do it. I never wanted to make my family feel like that again. The look in their eyes was enough to change me. I somehow needed to deal with my depression.

Was I trying to kill myself that night? Was I that unhappy? So the next two weeks I slept in an all-white room with nothing in it. I started to take medication for my depression and anxiety. I worked on what led me to this place. No matter how much I pretended I was happy, I realized I was depressed. I had a problem. It was scary there, not being able to walk outside or do what I wanted, hearing other people’s stories and having to tell mine. Finally talking about my feelings. Having only two ten-minute phone calls. And only being able to see my parents an hour a day and my sister once a week. I knew my peers were talking about me and I was scared to face them. I had lost the trust of my parents. I had scared them, I had scared myself. After two weeks I successfully completed the inpatient program and went on to a three-week outpatient program.

I talked with a social worker and took my medication. I made a promise to myself that I would think before I chose to do stupid things again. This is why I am proud to say that on June 11th I was two years sober. This decision has been the best one of my life. I am a better person for it. I could have never done it without my family. I don’t care who asks me to drink; I will proudly tell them that I don’t drink.

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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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

AHulsey said...
Apr. 4, 2014 at 9:50 am
I've gone through some of the same stuff. I really get where you're coming from
 
CaseyLeigh This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 8, 2009 at 3:58 pm
As someone who has struggled with depression and alcohol in the past, this piece really touched a nerve for me. I loved every word.
 
Lovely_Me replied...
Dec. 9, 2010 at 10:45 pm
This has touched me and having myself go through a phaze like this Im sure I will think twice before I make a mistake
 
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