Former Drug and Alcohol Addicts teach students lessons

By Emmy Lindfors
Opinion Editor
Throughout October 22nd in sophomore Health classes, there were presentations by five former drug and alcohol addicts. Their names were Deanna, Nick, Eric, Chris and Kelsey. Each had a story to tell and a reason why they wanted to share them with the students.
Each speaker had the goal of telling the students about how someone’s life gets affected by drugs and alcohol from a first hand experience.
“I went to Rolling Meadows. They have pictures of athletes on the walls like [at Prospect],” Eric said. “In freshmen year, I said ‘I’m going to be [an athlete on the wall].’ In senior year I dropped out of sports and all I wanted to do was to get high and do nothing. My senior year was spent drinking warm, white wine.”
The speakers say that the reason why they began doing drugs and alcohol was because they never felt like they fit in or had insecurities.
“I was 13 years old when my drinking and drug career really started off,” Deanna, a recovering drug and alcohol addict said. “I didn’t want to feel anything. I thought I was invincible. ‘I was too young to be an alcoholic. I’m 13 years old! I’m experimenting. I’m going to do all these things because I’m God.’ That’s how I looked at it.”
Unfortunate events started happening throughout their drug and alcohol abuse.
“I was raped and got pregnant,” Deanna said. “[The baby] died in my arms after one hour of living. I had three credits before I could graduate but because some guy knocked me up I gave up everything.”
For Eric, he remembers waking up in different places, not knowing where he was and sometimes being broke. He also woke up in a different state once, away from his military base in Texas.
“It’s scary to wake up in Oklahoma at a bingo parlor,” Eric said. “I had no idea how I got there.”
Kelsey began lying “all the time and about everything”. She was also beginning to convince herself.
“I remember this one lie,” Kelsey said. “I was in the kitchen, getting pretzels, and my mom came down and asked what I was getting. I told her ‘Chips.’ What does it matter? Chips and pretzels. There’s really no difference. So why lie?”
Soon enough they all began getting “wake up calls” slowly that indicated that they needed to change their life.
“I cheated on my girlfriend and that was the worst thing imaginable,” Eric said. “I woke up and thought ‘I’m just like everyone else’.”
Nick had been using drugs and was still living at home.
“It was a feeling of just being miserable. I was 22 when I stopped,” Nick said. “I got to the point of being personally miserable. All the guys coming back from college and moving on with their lives and I’m not.”
Eric and Chris started seeing that their friends only wanted to be around them “because of the drinking and drugs”.
“I was in jail and all the friends I thought I had, I called them all to bail me out. None of them did,” Chris said. “I ended up calling my mom. Which wasn’t that bad. I was so broken. I didn’t want to live like that anymore.”
One of the hardest parts for the speakers becoming sober was learning how to have fun without drugs and alcohol.
“When I was younger, you could put me in the backward with a stick and a sock. I could make a flag,” Eric said. “I used to climb trees and have fun. I had to learn how to have a good time without using drugs or alcohol. But now I have a lot more fun not drinking. I wake up in the morning knowing what I did last night.”
Deanna felt like she needed to learn how to “become a mom again and function in society”.
One of Deanna’s friends when she was younger got killed by getting hit, head-on by a semi-truck. They were high and were playing chicken.
“When i was 13, I thought I was too young to die,” Deanna said. “You’re never too young to die.”
Deanna now has three children now and teaches them everything because “I don’t hide anything from them. I’m in my sober life. Come live it with me”. She hopes that students can learn from her stories as well.
“I had a big mouth in bars but now I have a big mouth on alcohol and drugs,” Deanna said. “It happened to me! Listen to me! You don’t have to go out there and get stabbed like a girl I saw. You’re either a leader or a follower. You’re in or out. There’s no middle because then you’re dead.”
“Which scenario do your parents want?,” Eric said. “You calling them at one in the morning saying that you’ve been drinking and if they could come pick you up or two cops coming to your parents’ house, knocking on their door and saying their child is dead.”