Sometimes the battle with addiction, and more importantly the beginnings of addiction, can lay dormant and almost hide in the shadows until the time is right and the stage set for drug and alcohol addiction to re-enter the scene. Todays Voices of Recovery tells a story of addiction, redemption, and relapse with the story of Ali, a high school athlete with a different story to tell…
How old were you when you first tried drugs and alcohol?
I was 15 and it was probably a similar story as others who started at the age where I was at a friends house while his parents were away and we decided helped ourselves to the liquor from their bar. I have heard other peoples stories where they say the first drink they had they knew they were an addict or knew they loved it so much they didn’t want to stop but for me it, it really did not have that effect.
We were mixing all of these different types of alcohol with soda, and at the age you don’t know what is what as far as types of alcohol go. I just remember that I didn’t get sick and throw up nor did I start drinking daily…as a matter of fact I don’t think I drank again until a few months later so it wasn’t as if I had that addictive personality and the switch was turned on.
How old were you when you started doing drugs?
It was probably a year later when I tried pot for the first time. And once again, it was a different story from other addicts who almost immediately start into addiction and sink into the depths of hell that only drug and alcohol treatment can fix. I think a lot of what separated me from other teens and kids my age using drugs and alcohol was that I played a lot of sports and hung out with the athletes and jock types.
What sports did you play?
I was pretty good at basketball and volleyball as they were my main sports but I was pretty good at anything requiring athleticism. And be that as it was my friends weren’t the school’s losers and misfits, instead I was hanging out with a lot of the student athletes and what not.
Do you think had you not had those activities to keep you focused that your addiction might have manifested itself earlier in your life?
Without question, I think kids at the age have to do some type of activity to keep them focused and use as a positive outlet for their energy. Be it sports or student council or whatever, having some activity and hanging with others sharing and participating in that same activity is a positive think and something I would advise any high school kid to do. Not taking part in those activities and spending time doing nothing generally leads to bad things.
Its like the old saying “the devil will find work with idle hands” right?
Exactly. And I am probably a great example of that because it wasn’t until I was 19 or 20 when I really started using and trying out harder drugs.
What do you mean specifically by harder drugs?
The first heavy drug I ever tried was shrooms and acid. For some reason the pull of psychedelics and maybe the mystical aspects of the drugs appealed to me, so they were the first real “hardcore” drug experience I encountered I guess you could say. But even then I was only using maybe once or month, so it wasn’t like full blown drug addiction with me instantly spiraling out of control. I was still going to work and taking college courses.