Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Being the Helping Hand I Wish Had been There for Me...

A little over a week ago I got to do something I thought I never would have the honor to do. I got to share some of my life experience with a group of kids at a local middle school. Kids that are surrounded by a lot of mixed messages, a lot of pressure and a lot of uncertainty. I had to remember how it was for me when I was that young. All of the things that were going through my mind at that age. I can remember many outside forces that I didn't understand and really wanted some help with. The trouble was that I really didn't know who or how to ask. There really wasn't anybody there for me, at that age, that I could completely trust. So now, going into this opportunity, I wanted to be that person that these kids could talk to, and ask those questions.
Here is a little back story on me, I am a recovered alcoholic.  Really that says it all. I have been sober for over 600 days and if you want a little more info on me, check out my recovery blog here.
When I was in elementary school there was DARE, or Drug Abuse Resistance Education. Basically local police officers came into out classroom and talked to us about drugs and alcohol. What I remember of DARE was more of an education on drugs, more interest then resistance. A lot of people that are my age and went through some kind of DARE type program when they were kids often say the same thing that I do. It was more of an education about drugs and really didn't deal with the problems that were facing kids. For me it made me want to try more drugs now knowing how they were going to effect my body.
Drugs and Alcohol really changed the course of my life, really altered the very fabric of it. Not all of the changes were bad because it introduced me to the people that would introduce me to an entire new way of living. One that I never knew existed because I was never really looking. Now I have the chance to be of service to my fellow man, the still suffering alcoholic, and to a bunch of kids in a middle school.
I really wanted to talk to these kids and tell them my story. How drugs and alcohol effected my life. How it affected my schoolwork, my sports, my hobbies, my family and my future.  I really wanted to connect with them.
So I laid it all out on the line.
I told the kids all about the choices that I had made in the past. The way that those choices made me feel. How others affected the way that I made my choices in life. I just wanted to connect with them so that maybe they would feel comfortable enough with me to ask some questions. They asked a lot of great questions about all aspects of things that I covered, and even some things that I didn't. They wanted to know how I handled things like peer pressure, getting in cars with people that were intoxicated, family members that drank... basically all over the board.
After the assembly, I got to talk to a class of boys in a smaller group setting. We basically opened up the discussion to the boys, and really gave them the opportunity to get whatever off their chest that they wanted to.  It was something that I will never forget and I hope I get the chance to do again in the future.  The feeling that I had was simply marvelous. If I even connected with one of the kids in those rooms, and made them think about those choices in the future, then I did my job.

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