#HowISurvivedHighSchool Part 2: We're Not All the Same

May 22, 2019

Hey there, welcome back to my blog!

            In case you haven’t heard, I’m in the middle of a series called #HowISurvivedHighSchool.  If you clicked on this post and saw the title, you should already know.  So this is going to be part 2, but if you haven’t read part one, you can read that post here. 
            In the last post I made some “rules” about this series.  I’m going to post them again in every post just so we’re all in the same understanding.  Today I’m going to talk about some pretty heavy stuff so feel free to click out at any point.

1.  This is a 6 week series and a new part will be posted each Wednesday (so mark your calendars.)
2.  I am NOT here to call anyone out or speak poorly of anyone I’ve encountered throughout my High School career.  That’s not my vibe and my intentions of writing these posts are to encourage; not to bring anyone down.
3.  I will be talking about certain people I’ve encountered and things I’ve experienced, but please know that NO NAMES will be mentioned; if a name has to be used it will be changed.
4.  All the things I am going to tell you are true and are my stories that I have a right to tell.
5.  Please read/listen with open ears and hearts.
6.  Some of the topics I will be discussing are mature and very series at times so if you can’t handle the intensity, please feel free to click out at any time.

            Today I want to address something that is becoming a huge issue in our society: the fact that teenagers are gaining such a bad reputation in society and how I avoided being “one of those kids”.  I want to speak mostly to my younger audience, but I want the older ones to listen with open ears so that maybe you’ll understand that we aren’t all the same.

So one time I was at work and just to give you a little background of this story, it was pretty early in the morning and I hadn't had enough coffee yet to get me going. It was also the day after the 4th of July and the night before I was up late working at the county fair so you can imagine how tired I was.  Anyway, this lady sitting at the counter says to me “you look like you were up late partying.”  Now keep in mind I did know her and knew she was only joking, but it got me thinking. I thought, “Well that's probably what most people my age did last night so no wonder someone would assume something like that.”

I think the reason my generation has such a bad reputation these days is due to the small fraction that do choose to go down the wrong paths. Those are the ones who you see in the news stories. “Local teens vandalize park equipment”, “a group of teens were found guilty in a drug case”, and so forth.  You rarely ever see people my age make the news for something good.  It’s depressing, really.  While we’re on the topic, just a small piece of advice: don’t read the news.  It really puts a damper on your potential to live care free.

So what causes kids to go down the wrong path?  There are many answers to this question and it all depends on the case you’re looking at.  Some possibilities can be mental health, physical health, bad influences, and family.  Now I’m not a psychologist or anything but I can tell you almost every single person I know personally who has had drug/alcohol problems also has family issues at home.  Which actually makes sense if you think about it; compare the divorce rate (40-50%) to the percentage of teens who have misused drugs (50%) and alcohol (63%.)  This is certainly not the case with every teen, but there is clearly a relationship between the two.

Enough statistics though, I want to tell you a little bit about how this relates to my life and how it affected my High School career.  First and foremost, I want to say that I have never misused any type of drug or drank any type of alcohol during my High School career.  Period.  Why?  The short answer is frankly because it doesn’t sound appealing to me.  Now let me make it clear that because we’re talking about High School there is ALWAYS the pressure to “do what everyone else is doing” and to “fit in with the crowd.” 

The devil is very good at filling our minds and ears with tempting thoughts.  I along with probably almost every single High Schooler in America have struggled with temptation at some point or another.  It’s difficult when you’re still growing up and figuring everything out and the people around you are already dealing with adult issues.  I think one of the hardest parts is being in the middle and watching someone you love destroy their life and their relationships because they gave into the temptation.

One of the biggest reasons that keeps me from being one of them is because I’ve seen this happen over and over again to people I know and love dearly.  It’s heartbreaking because they get so caught up in being on this high and feeling good that they don’t realize how they’re destroying their life until it’s too late.  And you can’t even help them because they’re so bound to this new lifestyle.  I had someone one time trying to convince me that smoking weed is good for you.  You have to be head deep in lies to believe that.  I suppose it makes people feel better about themselves if they try to twist their addiction into something that “benefits their health.”

The best thing you can do in your High School career to avoid being caught up in the same lies as everyone else is to surround yourself with the right people.  It only takes one unhealthy relationship to develop the same habits as them and I think that’s what happens to a lot of people in High School.  Find people who will make sure you’re staying on the right path and will hold you accountable for your actions.  It is much easier to go to someone and say “hey, I’m struggling with temptation again.  Can you help me?”  Then to try to fight it yourself. 

No one prepared me for some of the issues that I had to deal with.  The thing was, they weren’t my own issues but they still affected me nonetheless.  People always taught me how to say no to being peer pressured into it myself but no one taught me how to help others who are struggling with it.   No one prepared me for the phone call I got one night from a friend after a bad breakup saying they had one too many beers that night.  No one prepared me to watch someone get kicked out of youth group because they were high.  The only thing worse than dealing with the issues yourself is being a bystander and watching it happen to someone else.  That will always be enough reason for me to say no.

            I have too good of a life to just throw it all away for a high that’s only temporary.  I’ve worked hard to be respected in society and part of that is not involving myself in things that could potentially ruin the reputation I’ve worked so hard to gain.  And I hope and pray that this message opens the eyes of someone who may be struggling with one of these issues.  Because trust me, once you get to the point in your life where you’re happier than any drug or drink makes you; you won’t ever want to change that.

National drug/alcohol Helpline: 1-888-633-3239

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