(by Dawson McAllister)
I wrote this blog a few years back for thehopeline.com. I feel it still speaks volumes about the danger of all sorts of addictions. Much of it is comprised of direct quotes that teens and young adults sent to me when I asked them to consider what an addiction might look like 25 years down the road. Their words are raw and true and give us an inside glimpse into the struggles so many people with an addiction face. – Dawson
I used to do a lot of trail riding in the Colorado Rockies. From my log home, I would saddle up and have several trails to choose from. One trail was only a mile long. Another ten. And still another, twenty-five. But each trail had one thing in common, there was an end to it. Life is like that. There is an ending to it. I’ve done a lot of thinking about addictions these last few weeks. I’ve read a lot of stuff too.
I couldn’t help from thinking, “Where do our addictions take us? What does someone who is addicted feel like or look like 25 years later or, at the end of their trail?”
It’s hard to think about these things when you are young because, when you’re young, 25 years seems like an eternity. Plus, when you have your youth, it’s easy to feel invincible, like nothing can hurt you.
The wisest man in the Bible, King Solomon, said some awesome things about life. They are written in the Bible for us to read. He said for example, Don’t let the excitement of being young keep you from your Creator. At another time, the king was warning his son about sexual addiction. The king didn’t warn his son of the damage sexual addiction could do to him today, but what damage it would do to him over a long period of time:
“So, my friend, listen closely;
don’t treat my words casually.
Keep your distance from such a woman;
absolutely stay out of her neighborhood.
You don’t want to squander your wonderful life,
to waste your precious life among the hardhearted.
Why should you allow strangers to take advantage of you?
Why be exploited by those who care nothing for you?
You don’t want to end your life full of regrets,
nothing but skin and bones,
Saying, why didn’t I do what they told me?
Why did I reject a disciplined life?
Why didn’t I listen to my mentors, or take my teachers seriously?
My life is ruined!
I haven’t one blessed thing to show for my life!’”
King Solomon painted a very graphic picture of where his son would be if he fell in to the addiction trap. The king was right. Somebody once said, “The devil can paint a pretty picture too.” That’s true, and so can every addiction. No addiction wants to paint the picture of a life at the end of the trail. But with your help, I have attempted to paint that very picture. Trust me, it is not a pretty one. You may be tempted to turn away. Please don’t. What you read from your own peers could save your life. Don’t let the end of the trail be a horrible, deadly, bitter place for you, you can choose a trail of freedom and joy.
You know my mom has been addicted to marijuana 25 yrs or longer! Her life is horrible. She took my childhood because I had to raise my sister and that has left me with a lot of guilt because I did a bad job. She’s very bitter about her life and her choices, and is extremely paranoid all the time. If you could see and live what I have, you would never try marijuana. After 25 years, she has ruined her life and affected everyone around her. She’s left me with emotional scars I don’t think will ever heal and that affect me in my everyday life. I can’t even have a healthy relationship now because I have no clue what that is. – Kelly
I have had an eating disorder for 6 years, going on 7. I’ve lost: My friends, my family, my body, my mind, my sense of identity, my ability to think clearly, the ability to stay warm, the ability to not go a day without hating myself. I’ve lost my ability to know who I am, and my purpose in life other than to self-destruct. My eating disorder started as a way of coping. And I just thought, once I lost a little weight, once I was a little thinner, then I would be better. It would let me GO. IT HAS NOT LET ME GO!! I have become a liar and I hate myself everyday. Eating Disorders are hell, and knowing all this about myself, I am still an addict. I’m still sick. – Trisha
This story was shared, not by a teen, but from someone who was addicted to sex for 25 years. After 25 years the picture was bleak but by the grace of God he found freedom.
I was addicted to sex for 25 years, since the very earliest experience, and at the end, I had truly come to the end of my trail. I didn’t feel human anymore and I thought I’d never be able to feel enjoyment or sense beauty every again. I had the stink of death on me, and I would have been happy just to die in the dessert away from humans and have my bones bleach in the sun. All the years of trying to quit and relapsing again and again accomplished nothing. I thought I was headed to Hell. I had panic attacks that put me in the hospital. I drove all the way across the country, and when I was halfway through Texas, I asked God what I was doing out there, and at that moment, I say a sign in the middle of nowhere. It read: Trust Jesus. Well, I’ve been doing that ever since, and He’s real and true. He’s freed me from sexual addiction. He’s showed me that the Bible contains all that we need to know. Jesus is the one who came, not to break us or put out our little flame of life, but to set us free. – Dan
I am a cutter, and I hate myself every time I do it again. In 25 years, my arms and legs could be full of scars. I want to work with children when I finish high school, and who is going to trust me with their children if they see the marks on my body? Who’s going to ask me for help and guidance with their children if they see what I did to myself? I will probably have lost a lot of friends. I will probably have a hard time getting a job anywhere. I’ll have to spend the rest of my life covering up my scars. Plus, I may accidentally cut myself in the wrong spot and bleed to death. If I don’t quit cutting, then a lot of the things I want aren’t going to work out the way I dream they will. – Abby