Thank you to all who submitted blog entries to our Winter 2015 Written Blog Contest! The decisions are in, and three winners have been chosen, each receiving a $50 gift card to the store of their choice.
Participants were asked to share what inspires them to pass on drugs and alcohol.
JILLIAN REED, F, age 15, Mira Costa High School
Gift card of choice: Pages Bookstore
I think I may be the embodiment of the collective anti-drug propaganda handed down through the years. Just the sheer volume of horror stories I have heard about the not so wonderful world of narcotics has really stopped me from ever considering taking drugs. In that way, I almost feel like someone made the anti-drug choice for me, which is great, but at the same time it shows how impressionable young minds are. Everyone has told me not to do it, so naturally I have decided to go with that. Now imagine I grew up in some situation where not everyone modeled the perfect clean behavior and attitudes. Would I be so sure in my beliefs then? Doubtful. I truly have been lucky as far as not stepping inside that world at all.
In the end, I think I can summarize that I really #PassOnIt for one major reason: #YOLO. It might be the opposite for some people who may want to use drugs because he/she will only live once, but I feel like YOLO is a much bigger reason why not to do drugs. I mean, come on, it’s kind of obvious. I do only live once, and I’m not going to screw it up for something as careless as using drugs.
Anonymous, M, age 21, West LA
When I was at high school in SoCal, I didn’t choose to pass on drugs and alcohol. I drank at parties because everyone else was, and although there were definitely some fun times, I wish I had waited to drink. I made some regrettable decisions while under the influence, and I also watched some intoxicated friends become involved with some bad people and bad situations because of drugs and alcohol. There are a few nights that my friends remember perfectly that I can’t remember at all because I drank too much or smoked too much weed. If I could turn back the clock, I would have passed on drinking in high school and using drugs. I am certain that by using alcohol and drugs at such a young age that I caused damage to my developing brain! And because I started drinking so young, I didn’t learn how to drink responsibly until much later, and I feel like I would have developed a much healthier relationship to alcohol if I had waited. Since I can’t turn back the clock, all I can do is write this blog and maybe help other people decide to pass on drinking until they are 21 and pass on using drugs. Drinking and smoking seemed so important to me then, but in retrospect, these substances probably dampened my memories and inhibited me from always being my best self.
Although I heard this in high school and paid no mind, this is important: If people make fun of you for not wanting to drink or not wanting to use drugs, then they may not be people you want to spend time with. People who love and respect you shouldn’t pressure you into something you don’t want to do. You also probably won’t see most of these high school peers after graduation anyway, so who cares what they think? I’m not saying you should judge other people for drinking or using drugs. Ultimately, it is their choice like it can be your choice to pass on it. Please remember, there is nothing wrong with telling people that you want to pass on drinking, or pass on using drugs. Again, it is your body and your choice!
Anonymous, F, age 20, Northern California
Gift card of choice: REI
I grew up with an alcoholic mother. I grew up not knowing if someone was going to be able to pick me up from school that day and not being able to understand why nobody cared enough and would leave me alone to fend for myself. I grew up pretending I was sick so that I could stay home from school and hopefully have that be reason enough for my mother not to drink. I grew up in fear. I feared she may cook me a dinner that was not suitable to eat because it was undercooked, but she would scream and yell at me to eat it because how dare I waste food that was perfectly fine. I feared that I may write an essay or make a poster for a class that was not good enough for her, so she would rip it up and make me start all over. I feared that I would bring friends over to my house and my mom would be drunk, so I would have to explain to them that this was normal and she was like this all the time. I feared that one day, I may come home to a dead mother. I allowed alcohol to control my life. I allowed alcohol to control who I thought was cool enough to be my friend, because only cool people drink alcohol.
But no more. I try to #PassOnIt because I know how powerful drugs and alcohol are. I know that drugs and alcohol have the power to control someone’s life, but they will not control mine. I control my life, me and only me.