“My room was on the second floor and it overlooked the lake that still brings me comfort, much like the ocean and the streams. The windows were bordered by curtains made of lace, and the wallpaper was a purple and green pastel floral design. I had an antique four-poster bed and a fireplace with a mantel decorated with child- and family-perfect pictures. I know now that pictures are not what counts. Whether my windows are covered with lace or yours are covered with metal bars, the fear and anxiety inside is the same, it is that feeling that hurts a lot: teenage angst. You can’t see it and you can’t define it, but it is there. And it never seems to go away.

Truth be told, what I didn’t know then, is that the idea was to choose closeness, choose people, choose the basics of human relatedness and realness. Even in all of the moments of angst, the moments of confusion and chaos, the moments when you really don’t know, or the moments of joy as well, always choose people.”

If you choose drugs and alcohol, you don’t choose closeness, you don’t choose connectedness, and you don’t choose people.

The year 2017 is your world and it is a world that is coded out. Everything is a number: phones, cell phones or telephones, modems, computers, e-mail, texting, iPhones, iPads, answering machines, bank cards, debit cards, credit cards, and more. You are growing up in the world of a sound byte. Everything is about the future… and tomorrow and faster and more. The world says keep up or you will miss out; hurry or you will be forgotten and left behind. On top of it all, you have to make sure you are looking good, very good, and definitely not afraid, no matter what the cost. Your issues are threatening and multi-faceted. They are social, familial, sexual, physical and spiritual — all based on the search for who you are and how you can realize your wishes and dreams. Life today can feel like it is not patient or forgiving. Its demands are colder and unkind and there is not much room to talk about true feelings or to find a way to live in your heart.

There is an outright juxtaposition for all of us, we are all in a crossfire, but especially you. On one hand society is presenting a movement, a new world, a huge quest toward uniting, joining together, being closer, and family love; no matter what your family looks like it is all about closeness. On the other hand, society is presenting an expansive life, pierced and punctured with social media where our iPhones offer comfort and isolation both at the same time, where we can find our way back from disappointments by listening to a song but it can also isolate us by giving us a love affair with a picture, and merely a fantasy.

In the middle of it all, drugs and alcohol chooses separateness and aloneness, even if it looks glamorous and cool, it defies the face of love; with drugs and alcohol there is no room for love; with drugs and alcohol, in a second you can turn your back on your heart. When you put your head on your pillow at night, you’re alone with all this stuff.

Snapshots, moments and some passageways are life changing-decisions, where journeys and destinies are suddenly and shockingly decided upon, just because of not knowing. It can be as simple as the world of cheerleaders, ponytails, sports teams and friendly competition, or as complicated as finding out that a friend betrayed you when you thought they were your BFF. It can be a fight with your mom or your dad, or both, losing your goldfish or your 10-year-old dog. It can be finding out you’re adopted, or struggling in school, worried about your first kiss, if you’re eating at the right restaurant, or it’s about a boy trying to be cool or a girl trying to look good. It is any kind of conflict that makes your stomach ache, anyone of those things, any one of those seemingly simple passageways, can be the final straw to the coping that just does not work anymore.

Choose faith in your angst, even when the moment will tell you that drugs & alcohol are the best way to go.

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

By, Susie Spain Founder